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British backpacker survives on contact lens solution

Tuesday, 19 February 2013
British backpacker survives on contact lens solution
A British backpacker has survived by drinking contact lens solution after getting lost in Australia’s outback.

Sam Woodhead, 18, from Richmond in South West London was in Australia on his gap year. On Tuesday last week he set out for a run from the cattle station he was working on in Queensland but was unable to find his way back.

After drinking the bottle of water he had set off with, he reached desperate measures in order to survive, drinking his own urine and the lens solution from several packs of contact lenses he found in his bag.

He survived for 3 days in a ruthless landscape, with temperatures reaching as high as 39C, and little places to seek shelter from the heat, losing a total of two stone in this short time.

His mother, Claire, 54, told ITV’s This Morning: "His father had packed boxes of contact lenses in his rucksack in an outside pocket and he'd forgotten to take them out. He's lived on the fluid that the contact lenses … you know the little packs of contact lenses? He's literally lived on those packs of contact lenses for three nights."

A helicopter crew searching for Sam had passed overhead several times before they spotted him 13 miles away from the cattle ranch.

When talking to Radio 4 about the rescue Sam Woodhead said: "The helicopter was flying pretty low and, as it went along, my shorts which I'd put on top of my SOS signal to give it some colour, flew up in the air under the propeller and they turned round and saw me."

The emergency workers searching for him, used helicopters, small planes, quad bikes, horses and trekked on foot in an effort to find Mr Woodhead, even local residents joined in the search. However, the process was hindered by the fact that nobody knew what direction Mr Woodhead had left the cattle ranch.

After the rescue Mr Woodhead was taken to a hospital in Longreach where he underwent several tests and was placed on a drip, suffering from kidney problems as result of dehydration. He is believed to be recovering well, and doctors think he will be back to normal in a month’s time.

*Contact lens solutions are not designed for human consumption and GetLenses would not recommend you drink any lens solution. Mr Sam Woodhead was part of a very extreme and unusual case.

Posted By +Brendan O'Brien

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