A desperate search for a mother-of-four has ended in a miracle after she was found after seven days in tough bushland.
Rikki Mitchell was found by a local resident on his property at about 9.30am on Wednesday, more than a week after she went missing from the Reid River.
She was found driving an all-terrain vehicle that she had commandeered from another property while trying to find help.
The 38-year-old had been forced to drink from puddles and had to endure extreme temperatures, Townsville Detective Inspector Jason Shepherd said.
“Hopes were fading for Rikki’s safe return and her survival is nothing short of remarkable,” Detective Inspector Shepherd said.
“She is safe and well after receiving treatment from paramedics for exposure and scratches and will be recovering in hospital.
“Conditions have ranged from extreme heat to quite cool dips – and for her to be missing seven days in the bush it’s a fantastic outcome considering the elements and the risk from wildlife, including snakes.”
Ms Mitchell went missing after she went for a walk after a swim near a rest stop with her boyfriend on Monday May 2.
Detective Inspector Shepherd said her walk lasted for several kilometres before she became “disoriented”.
Her partner, who had left the area to visit friends for half an hour while she was on her walk, reported her disappearance to police two days later, sparking the frantic search.
“I understand she only had about a litre of water, was wearing a t-shirt, shorts and thongs and had no phone or food supplies,” Detective Inspector Shepherd said.
“Obviously with the time frame she’s been missing she’s likely to have become quite disoriented.
“But (she) traversed a considerable distance – at times this morning following the sound of the nearby Flinders Highway to raise the alarm.”