Kids Survive 2 Days in Outback After Parents Killed in Crash

'Nobody knows what they went through,' relative says; 5-year-old credited with saving baby brother
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2022 10:55 AM CST
3 Young Siblings Survive 2 Days in Outback After Crash
Jake Day, left, and Cindy Braddock, who died in the crash.   (Western Australia Police Force, via Sky News Australia)

Three young children survived two days in the Australian Outback after a Christmas Day car crash that took the lives of their parents, and the eldest sibling deserves some thanks for that. Sky News reports that 25-year-old Cindy Braddock, 28-year-old Jake Day, and their three kids—a 5-year-old girl and her two baby brothers, ages 2 and 1—had left a party in Northam around 1am Sunday and were headed the 125 miles home to Kondinin when their Land Rover Discovery rolled into an embankment about 6 miles from their hometown, in a remote part of Western Australia.

When the family didn't make it home, relatives became concerned and contacted police, who issued a missing-persons report. A family member finally found the Land Rover on Tuesday—55 hours after the family had vanished. Day and Braddock had perished in the crash, but the three kids had survived, though they were severely dehydrated after days spent in the 85-degree heat, per 9News. Michael Read, a cousin of Day's, tells Sky that the little girl is responsible for getting herself "unstuck" after the crash, then unbuckling her youngest brother from his car seat. It's not clear how the 2-year-old was released from his car seat.

"Nobody knows what they went through," Read says of the children's ordeal. The three children were transported to Perth Children's Hospital, where they're all said to be in stable condition. Read says earlier reports that the baby had suffered a head injury aren't true, per ABC Australia. A GoFundMe set up for funeral costs and to help pay for the children's medical bills and other expenses had raised nearly $70,000 as of Thursday morning. Read, meanwhile, cautions about driving while fatigued. "Know what your body limit is [and] don't drive tired," he says, per ABC. "Stay the night at a family's place. It's not worth it." (More survivors stories.)

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