A far north Queensland woman who survived 17 days in rugged bushland says she drew strength from a voice that told her “you can do it”.
Shannon Fraser waded through a crocodile-infested river and consumed nothing but dirty creek water during a 17-day ordeal lost in rugged bushland.
The 30-year-old made headlines when she stumbled naked out of the bush earlier this month after becoming lost at a popular swimming spot in Queensland’s far north on September 21.
She lost 17 kilograms during the ordeal, was severely burnt from sun exposure and covered in cuts and scratches.
“It was torture,” she told New Idea magazine.
“I wouldn’t wish that agony on anyone.”
Ms Fraser become lost while visiting Golden Hole, south of Cairns, with her partner and a friend and unknowingly walked further into dense rainforest when she tried to retrace her steps.
As the days wore on she was bitten by relentless march flies, scratched by wait-a-while vines and plagued by thirst and hunger.
She spent days wading through croc-infested waters where she had a close encounter with a baby reptile and a large cassowary.
The mother of three from nearby Innisfail says she drank dirty creek water to survive.
As she began to weaken, she drew strength from the knowledge her children, aged 15, 11 and nine, were waiting for her at home.
On day 16 – just as she had given up hope – she neared an old Aboriginal burial ground and heard a voice say: “Only you can do it”.
A short time later she came across ribbons left by searchers which guided her to a spot just 30 metres from where she went missing.
She was treated in hospital for burns and underwent surgery to remove splinters from her feet and legs.
Ms Fraser described the moment when she finally got to hold her children as “like hitting the jackpot”.
Her disappearance sparked a huge search in which emergency crews spent 800 hours scouring the area.
Her incredible tale of survival triggered doubts, with police even saying they were confident the extensive search would have located her and that she had likely travelled outside the search area.
Police have said they aren’t taking any action against Ms Fraser after speaking to her days after she emerged from the bush.