Authorities say if you're going to wander around the Australian Outback, make sure you have plenty of water on you and some snacks, and they advise you to stay with your vehicle if you get lost. Although Shaun Emitja and Mahesh Patrick diverged from those recommendations last week, they made it out of their predicament days later, "extremely lucky" to be alive, local police say, per the BBC. Emitja, 21, and 14-year-old Mahesh were on a four-hour drive through a remote part of the Northern Territory on Oct. 11 when their car, which ABC Australia describes as a Nissan pickup truck, got stuck. They couldn't get the vehicle out of the mud, and after spending the night inside it, they set off the next day to seek water.
That's when things got worse. Although they thought they'd been headed toward the highway, they realized a few miles in that they'd been hiking the wrong way. They spent Tuesday night in that area—where police think they found water for the last time during their ordeal—then separated the next day for reasons that aren't clear. The teen was found Friday night near Alice Springs after walking more than 10 miles on his own, much of it by following the line of a fence running south, says Kirsten Engels, a commander for the Northern Territory Police, per ABC, via Sky News.
Mahesh then helped guide officials in an air search for Emitja, who was rescued Saturday night. "What an amazing effort," Engels says of Mahesh. "[At] 14 years old, the resilience and survival instinct is phenomenal." Both survivors, who'd been reported missing from their Aboriginal community of Hermannsburg, were tired and dehydrated but otherwise OK, authorities say. "They are extremely lucky to be alive," Engels says. "We all know how harsh it is out there." (Read more Australia stories.)