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Perth family stranded in Simpson Desert after heavy rain rescued by police

Tuesday November 16, 2021 - 08:21 AEDT
ABC image
Perth couple Ori and Lindsey Zavros, with children Zane and Zoe, who became stuck in the outback after heavy rain.  - ABC

A Perth family of four who have been stranded in the Simpson Desert in the South Australian outback since late last week have been rescued by police. 


The Zavros family was winched to safety by a rescue helicopter and taken back to Coober Pedy, where they are expected to undergo precautionary checks at hospital.


SA Police said the family would spend the night in Coober Pedy and then make their own travel arrangements. 


The police helicopter left this morning to rescue the family from the remote location in South Australia's far north.


Perth couple Ori and Lindsey Zavros, and their two young children Zane and Zoe, got stuck when their customised campervan became bogged following torrential rain.


Earlier today, Ori's mother, Theo Zavros, said the family had "had enough" of being stuck in the desert and having to conserve water ahead of forecast hot weather.


She said everyone involved in the rescue operation had been "brilliant".


"We are thrilled ? thrilled to bits ? that they are going to be finally rescued," Ms Zavros told ABC News after hearing the rescue was underway.


She said she was especially looking forward to speaking to Zoe.


"We understand the three-year-old was a little bit sensitive to everything so I can't wait to speak to her ? basically to speak to all of them," she said.


Oodnadatta Pink Roadhouse owner Peter Moore said he had been informed by local police early this morning that a retrieval operation was underway.


"The local police came this morning and said that drum of avgas we got dropped off here two days ago? is required for the chopper coming up from Adelaide," he said.


"[It's] landing here, refuelling, going into the desert to pick up the stranded family and then take them back down south."


The helicopter left Port Augusta about 10am ACDT and reached the scene ? about 150 kilometres north-east of Oodnadatta ? late this afternoon.


Police said the family's van will be left in place. 


Concern about hot weather


With temperatures expected to rise above 40 degrees Celsius in coming days, Mr Moore said the looming heat was potentially a factor in the decision to retrieve the family.


"I could well imagine that it would be, for sure. Oodnadatta is still the hottest, driest town in Australia," he said.


"There's an airstrip not that far away but I would imagine the chopper would land right near them."


The family has a satellite phone, and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) on Sunday conducted a second aerial drop of emergency supplies.


Theo Zavros yesterday told ABC Radio Perth that her main concern was the changing weather.


"We're a little bit concerned because, we are told, the next couple of days are going to be over 38 degrees," she said.


"When they were bogged, they had food for the next four days, which was good enough.


"They were hoping that another traveller would go by and be able to help them, but obviously not so."


Mt Dare Hotel owner Sandra Scott ? who is about 80 kilometres from the family's location ? said roads in the area remained closed because of flooding.


"They certainly won't be able to [get] the truck out," she said.


"That'll have to stay there until the roads are passable. [It] could be another 10 days."







- ABC

© ABC 2021

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