Police say Australian pair 'lucky to be alive' after surviving days without water in remote outback

Shaun Emitja, 21 and Mahesh Patrick, 14 Credit: Northern Territory Police

Police say it is a "miracle" a pair survived for several days without water after they became stranded while driving through the remote Australian outback.

Mahesh Patrick, 14, and Shaun Emitja, 21, were travelling towards Alice Springs to go to a sports carnival when their vehicle became stuck on a dirt track last Monday.

Family members reported them missing after they failed to return that day to Hermannsburg, an Aboriginal community 75 miles south-west of Alice Springs.

A stretch of road near Alice Springs, Australia. Credit: AP

After spending the night by the car, the friends left the next morning to search for water, walking 3.1 miles to a hill before realising they were heading the wrong way, according to authorities.

A spokesperson for Northern Territory police said: "On arrival at the top of this hill they realised that was not the case, and walked another 5km to another hill."

The pair - for unknown reasons - became separated on Wednesday, with Mahesh then walking miles by himself in the "extreme" temperatures before being discovered in bushland on Friday night.

"Miraculously, he was located by community members who reunited him with his community and family," said Acting Commander Kirsten Engels. The teenager, who was dehydrated and had sore feet, was in good health despite the ordeal and helped a police air search for Mr Emitja, who was found on Saturday night.

The 21-year-old was undergoing health checks but appeared well, officers said.

"They are extremely lucky to be alive - we all know how harsh it is out there," said Acting Cdr Engels.

"For what these boys went through, I can hardly believe they have so [few] scars physically."

People travelling in Australia's remote outback are advised to carry food and four litres of water per person a day.

It is recommended they stay in their car if they become stranded as it is easier for authorities to locate than a person on foot.