Family rescued after days stranded in Australian outback

·1-min read
A family of four were stranded for days in the harsh Australian outback when their campervan got bogged after torrential rain (AFP/Handout)

A family of four stranded for four days in the harsh Australian outback was airlifted to safety Tuesday, police said, after floods stalled initial rescue efforts.

The family -- identified as Perth couple Ori and Lindsey Zavros and their two young children -- was travelling through the Simpson Desert in central Australia when their campervan became bogged after torrential rain.

They activated an emergency beacon, alerting the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to their location on Friday.

But for days, flooding made a rescue mission impossible, with authorities only able to airdrop a satellite phone, long-range radio, food and water.

After waiting for days in the desert, police confirmed the family had been winched to safety by a helicopter on Tuesday afternoon.

"The family are being flown to Coober Pedy to stay the night, where they will then make their own further travel arrangements," South Australia Police said in a statement.

Ori Zavros's mother Theo told national broadcaster ABC there was relief the rescue was under way and the family had "had enough" of being stuck.

"We are thrilled -- thrilled to bits -- that they are going to be finally rescued."

Severe storms have swept through the area in recent days, with the desert town of Alice Springs receiving its highest daily rainfall since 2001, turning the usually dusty Todd River into a swelling stream.

Wild weather has also triggered flooding and warnings in large parts of Australia's south and east.

In the past few years, Australia has suffered increasingly extreme climate-fuelled droughts, wildfires and floods.

al/arb/qan

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