A New Zealand woman recently described how she survived being lost in the woods by drinking her own breast milk and covering herself with dirt.
Susan O’Brien, a fitness instructor from Wellington, was taking part in a 12.5 mile cross-country race called the XTERRA Wellington Trail Running Series in the Rimutaka Forest Park, Wainuiomata on Sunday, May 10, when she became separated from the group and found herself lost in the wilderness.
When she realized that she didn’t know where she was or how to get back to the track, she made the decision to dig a hole in the dirt where she covered herself with dirt to make it through the cold night.
“I just kept chucking dirt on top of me,” she said, noting that she was still wearing the minimal clothing that she had put on that morning to run the race in. “Every time I heard something I’d just scream ‘help’.”
The 29-year-old said she feared she would not make it through the night with the intense rain and high winds, according to Sky News.
To help her maintain her energy, O’Brien explained that she was able to drink her breast milk because she is still currently breast feeding her baby.
While she admits she thought she was going to die, she said her family and prayer, is what kept her strong.
“I definitely thought I was going to die,” she said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “Nothing else mattered but my family. I felt God with me the whole time. For some reason I kept strong because I kept praying all the time.”
The next morning, Susan gathered the strength to start making her way out of the woods. Rescuers, using heat-seeking equipment, spotted her as she found her way to the Orongorongo track. While she debated on finishing her trek on foot, she opted for the helicopter ride so she could get back to her family as soon as possible.
Mike Thomason, the race organizer, said the 423 runners started at approximately 9 a.m. and were due back at around 11:30 a.m. However, when O’Brien didn’t return with the group, they sent out search teams, consisting of 31 people plus three search dogs, to scour the area. They also lit fires Sunday night to serve as beacons.
On Monday, Susan was reunited with her brother Jack Khoo, her husband Daniel O’Brien, her 8-month-old daughter Meisha, her 2-year-old son Jayden, and her mother Maggie Khoo, who cried as she hugged her daughter.
After their emotional reunion, Susan’s first duty was to provide breast milk for her daughter, the same milk that helped her survive.
[Photo via Facebook/Susan O’Brien]