A woman has been rescued in miraculous circumstances after going for a swim in a Florida canal and vanishing for three weeks.
The 43-year-old woman was found naked and trapped inside a storm drain north of Miami on Tuesday (local time) before emergency responders were able to extricate her in what was described as a bizarre rescue operation.
A passerby heard the woman – who was unable to carry her own weight – yelling near a busy Delray Beach thoroughfare and called police.
According to police, the woman identified as Lyndsey Kennedy, told officers she went for a swim in a canal near her boyfriend’s home on March 3, the Miami Herald reported.
“While she was swimming, she came across a doorway near a shallow part of the canal. She stated she entered the doorway and noticed a tunnel,” a police incident report says.
The woman reportedly became curious and ventured further down into a labyrinth of tunnels until she became lost.
Later that night, her boyfriend reported her missing.
Authorities are unsure what happened next but the woman claims she was left wandering the tunnels for nearly three weeks before spotting some light and seeing people walking past, prompting her to stay put.
However, police aren't so sure of her incredible story, calling it "by far one of the most bizarre incidents that our officers have responded to".
"She mentioned she had been in the storm drain for weeks. We from the police department standpoint find it very hard to believe that she spent that amount of time down there," Delray Beach Police Department spokesman Ted White told WPTV.
"You need food and water, and so some things don't add up.
"She did mention that she found an unopened bottle of ginger ale, and that is what she drank," he added. "We find it hard to believe right now."
A local fire crew rescued the woman as a crowd of onlookers cheered.
"Crews removed a grate to access the drain, which is about 8-feet [2.4 metres] deep, and used a ladder and a harness to raise the woman to ground level as a small crowd cheered," Delray Beach Fire Rescue posted on Facebook, alongside photos of the moment.
The woman's mother has since told local media her daughter has a history of using illicit drugs and is prone to making bad decisions while under the influence.
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