An Australian family is stranded after their camper got stuck in the desert following heavy rains. They could be there for a couple of weeks as the area is impassable to rescuers.
Update: November 16 2021: South Australia police have changed plans and dispatched a helicopter this morning to airlift the family out, reports ABC News. Temps above 100 degrees were expected ahead and the family was concerned about water conservation. They also reportedly “had enough” of the desert. The airlift was successful and the family is safe. The camper will have to wait a while until everything dries up for recovery.
The original story continues:
Back in November 2020, Orios and Lindsey Zavros embarked on a journey of a lifetime with their two kids. The family took a custom Mitsubishi Canter camper from their home in Perth through Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. They wanted to “cover every aspect of Australia” reports 7News, and they’ve gone far. Unfortunately, their rig met its match on the trip back home as the family crossed the Simpson Desert.
Parts of the region were inundated with rains, flooding out roads in the remote area. The Zavros and their Mitsubishi found themselves right in the middle of it and eventually stuck. They activated an emergency GPS beacon and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority found them within hours, dropping supplies and a phone.
Thankfully, there are no injuries.
Images show the Mitsubishi to be practically glued to its current spot. To make matters worse, the area is remote and so soaked that rescuers are currently unable to reach it by land. They’re about 93 miles northwest of Oodnadatta.
The camping rig is a 2006 Mitsubishi Canter 4x4. Orios and Lindsey built the camper that’s loaded onto the Canter’s flatbed by hand, and it not only has the usual off-grid stuff like solar power and batteries, but they even included a toilet, shower and a washing machine. It works like a truck bed camper where it uses jacks for loading and unloading.
In an interview last year with Expedition Portal, the Zavros say that they’re longtime off-roaders. Part of the inspiration for the build was being able to carry a bunch of weight in a camper without exceeding legal limits. They also wanted to explore extreme parts of Australia without having to drag a trailer around.
Reading through the build sounds a lot like the campers we’ve written about here. The truck also has a low range, 37-inch all-terrain tires and a limited-slip rear differential. It has lots of recovery gear, including a 17,000-pound winch up front and a 12,000-pound winch out back. They say it’s been through a lot of harsh terrain already without getting stuck, some of it covered on the family’s Instagram.
South Australia police is mounting a ground rescue effort to recover the family and the Canter but say that there are challenges in getting there. Not only are they stuck in a remote area, but as 7News reports it may be inaccessible by land for up to two weeks depending on the weather.
In the meantime, the family is said to have sufficient supplies. When all is said and done, they’ll definitely have a story to tell. That beacon also definitely paid for itself.
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