A young Perth family has been stranded in the Simpson Desert for days – and faces up to a fortnight more before they can be rescued.
Western Australian couple Ori and Lindsey Zavros and their two young children Zoe and Zane are stuck in a remote area of the Simpson Desert, 150 kilometres north-west of Oodnadatta, South Australia, after heavy rain caused the family truck to become bogged on Friday.
Emergency supplies were dropped to the family on Saturday, as SA Police and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority work on a plan to rescue the trapped travellers.
The family’s 4WD camper van, a modified Mitsubishi Canter, is surrounded by flooded roads, making their rescue extremely difficult.
Authorities must wait for for the area to dry out before they can enter to rescue the family.
“Coordination of the rescue is with SA Police, who are maintaining ongoing contact with the stranded vehicle, and are assessing rescue options for a ground response,” an AMSA spokesman told the ABC.
“Due to the road conditions and remote area this is proving difficult and SA Police have now requested a supply drop to the family.
“The AMSA Response Centre has contacted the family to confirm food supplies that are needed.”
Footage captured by the Challenger rescue plane dispatched from Melbourne’s Essendon Airport showed the family trapped along the Purni Bore Track in the Witjira National Park.
They were dropped water and a satellite phone. Police said the family had “sufficient” food supplies.
The family, who have been on a 12-month tour of Australia since November 2020, shared a foreboding image on social media the day before they got bogged.
“Bring on the Simpson Desert”, the caption read.
Authorities were notified of the family’s whereabouts at 10am on Friday, after the Zavroses activated an emergency EPIRB device.
AMSA made contact with them in their heavily bogged camper van about 2.30pm that day.
Mr Zaros’s parents, Theo and Lagis Zavros contacted their son and daughter-in-law on the satellite phone, fearing the worst but were reassured were uninjured and doing OK.
Mount Dare Hotel owner Graham Scott, who is about 80 kilometres away from the family but cut off by floodwaters, said it was likely to be at least a week before the road became passable.
“All the roads around here are partially under water. There are vast flat areas that have still got water laying on them, and where the water has recently been on the roads – it’d be a quagmire if you tried to get through,” he told the ABC.
“There’s only one track out there … [and] it’d be at least a week before you’d be able to get onto roads with any confidence.
“They’ll be fine, as long as they’ve got food and water … I gather they’re not on a fixed time schedule so my advice is to find as many good board games as you can and just sit there and wait until it dries out.”