THE sister of a backpacker who survived three days in the Outback in searing 100F heat has revealed she’s desperate to give him “a massive hug”.
Edinburgh University student Rebecca Woodhead said 18-year-old Sam also has a lot “of grovelling to do to a lot of people when he gets back”.
The would-be army officer was found sunburnt and dehydrated in Queensland, Australia, by a rescue helicopter shortly before 5am yesterday.
Delighted Rebecca said: “I would love to give my brother a big thump but I will probably give him a massive hug.”
The part-time model, who turned 21 on Thursday, said she still could not believe that her little brother has been found alive and well. She said: “It still hasn’t sunk in yet. Sam is the most relaxed person you will ever meet, he seems almost nonplussed by everything that has happened. I guess he is bewildered.
“It has been a terrible few days but now I can finally celebrate my birthday. I can’t actually even remember receiving the call telling us he is OK – I haven’t slept in days. I just know I ran around the house telling everyone.”
Edinburgh Rugby stars Sep Visser and Harry Leonard lent their support during the search, both issuing pleas for him to be found on Twitter. Pop star Harry Judd from the band McFly also retweeted the appeal to his 650,000 followers.
Sam, an aspiring army officer who plans to go to Sandhurst next year, had gone for an evening run in his shorts and T-shirt along a route he had never taken before. But after a couple of hours got lost and decided to “keep walking” in temperatures that reached 35C in the hope that someone would find him.
He ended up wandering further away from the ranch where he had been staying and is believed to have walked some 20km away by the time a helicopter pilot rescued him early this morning.
It is understood he drank his water within the first hour of his run and had not had a drink in the three days that followed.
Despite his ordeal the brave teenager managed to share a joke with sister Rebecca from his hospital bed. She added: “When I spoke to Sam he just joked ‘In hindsight I guess I shouldn’t have chosen a different route to go running along’. I told him off a bit.
“He said ‘It probably wasn’t the birthday you were expecting’. I said it wasn’t – but he didn’t actually wish me happy birthday!”