Missing New Zealand runner 'survives by drinking her own breast milk'

Mother of two managed to dig a hole in the ground to shelter from high winds and rain before praying for survival

Alexander Ward
Monday 11 May 2015 12:34
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Susan O'Brien speaks to reporters after being rescued by helicopter in the New Zealand wilderness
Susan O'Brien speaks to reporters after being rescued by helicopter in the New Zealand wilderness

A woman with two small children says she "survived" a night in the New Zealand forest by drinking her own breast milk.

Susan O’Brien took a wrong turn during a 20 km race, sparking a mass search operation when it became apparent she hadn't finished the race.

When she was eventually airlifted out of the forest at 11.30am, the first thing she did was feed her eight-month-old daughter.

The 29-year-old said she was convinced she would die overnight, praying and thinking of her family to pass the time.

“I’m breast-feeding my baby so I had a bit of my milk, which I thought, that should help me keep going.”

In addition to her breast milk, she also had two litres of water, gel packs and an energy bar, according to Radio New Zealand.

A personal fitness trainer and gym instructor, Mrs O’Brien added that she dug a hole in the forest floor and covered herself in dirt to keep warm overnight. “I just kept chucking dirt on myself and every time I heard something I kept screaming ‘help’,” she said.

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