When 29-year-old Susan O’Brien from Johnsonville in New Zealand got lost during a cold night in the Rimutaka Forest Park, she survived by drinking her own breast milk over a period of 24 hours.
After Susan got lost during the race through the forest, when the dark and coldness began to set in, she reportedly feared for her life.
It took the Westpac Rescue Helicopter a good four hours to find Susan, which they did at about 11:30 a.m., as crewman Colin Larsen told reporters.
“She was just standing on the edge of the bank waving at us. She obviously looked very relieved, she looked quite cold and tired but certainly very relieved to be taken back to her family.”
When Susan was rescued, the first thing she did was to feed her hungry 8-month-old daughter, Meisha, with the same breast milk she used to survive on while lost in the freezing forest overnight.
As she explained to reporters, “I’m breast-feeding my baby so I had a bit of my milk, which I thought, that should help me keep going. I just kept chucking dirt on top of me.”
Susan, who also told reporters that she usually had a great sense of direction, added that she thought she was “definitely” going to die from the cold. As she said, “I thought of my baby and my son and my family.”
Meanwhile, Susan’s family released a statement on Monday, thanking search teams and police for their “tireless and unwavering efforts to find Susan,” adding, “As a family, we are extremely relieved and thankful that Susan has been found safe and well. Susan will be having some much-needed rest over the next couple of days.”
Susan’s husband and brother were worried sick about her, and reportedly barely slept through the night, returning to the forest to offer what assistance they could.
A search crew of 31 people looked for Susan throughout the night, while fires were lit on Sunday, which acted as beacons.
[Image credit: Mashable]