WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – A mother who got lost in a forest during a trail run said she survived on her own breast milk until rescuers found her.
She said she covered herself in dirt to keep warm during the night.
New Zealand’s TVNZ said 29-year-old Susan O’Brien, mother of two, spent a cold and damp night in the Orongorongo Valley near Wellington after getting lost during a 20 km run.
Her family called authorities after she never crossed the finish line.
Nightfall came and O’Brien said she did all she could to keep warm.
“I just kept chucking dirt on top of me and every time I heard something, I’d just scream for help,” she said.
She said her survival instincts kicked in.
“One thing that helped me was that I’m breast-feeding my baby so I had a bit of my milk and thought that would keep me going for energy,” she told TVNZ.
She said she didn’t know the area well, “I thought I was gonna die.”
Finally a rescue helicopter spotted her from the sky.
Rescuer Colin Larsen said, “She looked to be waving very purposely so we figured that she was probably the person we were looking for so we landed and, sure enough, that was her.”
“I just didn’t want to give up,” O’Brien said. “I was determined to get back to my family and that was the only thing that kept me driving. It made me realize in life that nothing else matters but my family.”
She is now back with her family, who is equally excited to have her home.