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British backpacker thought 'pick me up now or do me in'

The British backpacker who went missing in the Australian outback for three days and was "hours away from death" told ITV's Daybreak he reached "a desperate point" where he either wanted to be saved or succumb to the harsh conditions.

Sam Woodhead with his mother being interviewed by ITV's Daybreak. Credit: Daybreak

Sam Woodhead, 18, said rescue helicopters missed an SOS sign he had made from his rugby shorts and thought to himself on the third and final day he was missing, either "pick me up now or do me in."

Speaking from Daybreak's studio in London, Sam's father Peter said it was a "great strategic move of yours not to unpack the contact lens' from your bag two months ago."

The backpacker drank contact lens solution in a bid to stop himself from dehydrating.

His sister, Rebecca, said she expected a "great birthday present" from him and added that her promise of giving her brother a whack "still stands."


British backpacker 'very fortunate' to be alive

A British backpacker who went missing for three days in the Australian outback said he felt "very fortunate" to be alive, in an interview with Sky News.

Sam Woodhead was missing for three days. Credit: Family handout

Sam Woodhead became lost after going out for a jog from the Queensland cattle station where he was working.

The 18-year-old lost two stone in weight and survived the blistering 40C heat by drinking contact lens fluid and his own urine.

Woodhead said: "It was a really amazing feeling to be picked up and realise that I was actually going to make it through...and it wasn't going to be the end."

Claire Derry, Sam's mother, said: "His birth was one of the best moments of my life, and this is pretty close to it, getting him back again, because I was pretty convinced it was touch and go. I did an awful lot of praying during that flight."

  1. London

ITV News speaks to mother of backpacker found after three days missing

The mother of a backpacker from Richmond, who's been missing in the Australian Outback for more than three days, has spoken of her relief after he found safe and well.

Eighteen year old Samuel Woodhead was reported missing in Queensland on Tuesday after he never returned from a jog. ITV News' Hannah Emerson-Thomas was the first to speak to his mother Claire, as she touched down in Australia to see him.


Family overwhelmed after missing Brit found

The sister of British backpacker Sam Woodhead, who was found safe and well in the Australian Outback, told ITV's Daybreak she was going to "give him a great whack" when she next sees him.

Sam's father Peter Woodhead thanked all the people who found his son: "We have just had so much support from friends and family. I would like to put on air the thanks we give to everyone who joined in their search effort. He owes his life to them."

Rescue team searched through the night for missing Brit

Alex Dorr, a search and rescue pilot who was part of the team that found missing British backpacker Sam Woodhead, told ITV's Daybreak a helicopter was "scrambled out last night" as they searched in the dark with night-vision cameras in a bid to find him quickly.

He described the area Woodhead went missing in as "very harsh and unforgiving".

Dorr added: "Not that long ago we had a guy who was missing for a much shorter time and he passed away from dehydration."

Dad: Backpacker's discovery 'beyond wildest dreams'

The father of British backpacker Sam Woodhead, who was found safe and well after missing for three days in the Australian Outback, has told ITV's Daybreak his discovery is "beyond my wildest dreams."

Peter Woodhead said the ordeal had been a "true nightmare", while the backpacker's sister Rebecca said he was found with minor injuries including "sunburn, dehydration and cracked lips."

Footprints in the sand led to widening of search

Australian Channel 10 correspondent Jonathan Lea has told Daybreak that British backpacker Sam Woodhead was found after the search was widened, following sightings of footprints in the sand.

Additional helicopters were called in to find the 18-year-old, who would have been surviving in temperatures of 39 degrees Celsius, in the Australian outback.

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