A body believed to be that of missing Alice Springs woman Claire Hockridge has been found a fortnight after she went missing with two friends in the Northern Territory outback.
NT Police announced the discovery of the body of a woman south of Alice Springs on Wednesday.
Until then, the local community had been praying for a third miracle after her two friends were earlier found alive.
Ms Hockridge, 46, had still not been found on Tuesday night – two weeks after the group were stranded when their ute became bogged in a river bed on November 19.
Her friend Phu Tran, 40, was found by a pastoralist on Tuesday about 12 kilometres from the ute.
Ted Fogarty found tracks and followed footprints before he saw Mr Tran come out of a large cement pipe he had slept in.
Tamra McBeath-Riley, 52, of Alice Springs, was rescued on late Sunday afternoon after a station worker noticed tyre tracks and alerted police.
Ms McBeath-Riley said the group had stayed by their car for about three days trying to free it, but they moved on after running out of supplies.
The group drank about six litres of water and about 10 iced vodka cans in their car before realising they needed to seek shelter elsewhere.
“Where we got bogged there was no trees or anything,” she said.
“We tried many times to try to get out, but just couldn’t get out, so ventured forth to try and find some shelter and some water.”
The trio left the car with a note indicating which direction they were travelling in.
At first, they stumbled across a cattle watering hole and drank from it before moving on to find a better location with shelter from the sun.
Police Superintendent Pauline Vicary said after a week the trio began to worry they would not be found.
“Tran and Claire made a decision to go north,” she said.
“They had a TomTom [GPS] and a compass with them. Their intention was to go north towards the Stuart Highway, which is about 22 kilometres from where they have left.”
She described Ms McBeath-Riley’s survival as a mircal.
“I don’t know if it’s unprecedented but certainly, if you believe in miracles, I am saying it’s a miracle,” she said in Alice Springs on Monday.
Tuesday’s discovery of Mr Tran had narrowed the rugged area for the search by helicopters for Ms Hockridge.
Mr Tran had said he had left his friend behind in a good condition two days ago.