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Perth family could be trapped in Simpson Desert for days

The bogged vehicle in the Simpson Desert. Picture: AMSA
The bogged vehicle in the Simpson Desert. Picture: AMSA

A family stranded in one of Australia’s largest deserts could remain trapped as roads in the area are likely to be flooded for several more days.

Orios Zavros, his wife and children were travelling across the country on the trip of a lifetime when they found themselves stranded in South Australia’s Simpson Desert.

They set off an emergency beacon on Friday morning when their modified Mitsubishi Canter became bogged after major storms swept through about 150km northwest of Oodnadatta.

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The Australian Maritime Safety Authority made contact with the family about 2.30pm on Friday and confirmed no one had been injured.

However, AMSA warned that the Perth family may be trapped for even longer as the area was “likely to be flooded and inaccessible for several days”, meaning the family can’t get out.

“Due to severe wet weather, roads in the area are flooded and inaccessible for several days,” the AMSA spokesman said.

“The remoteness of the location is also hampering ground rescue efforts.”

While rescue efforts have been hindered by weather conditions, SA Police have been working on a ground response, with a spokesman saying there had been no update to the weather and rescue efforts on Monday afternoon.

“We will continue to assess the best time to co-ordinate the recovery of the family and vehicle,” the spokesman said.

A rescue plane was deployed to deliver a satellite phone and water, with police confirming the family had enough essential supplies to see them through the weekend.

It comes just days after they shared an Instagram post declaring they had made it to Birdsville in Queensland.

“Bring on the Simpson Desert,” they wrote, alongside a picture of their van.

Several family and friends, including friend Ben Allen, have taken to Facebook to share details of the family’s misadventures.

“Stay safe until they come and recover (you),” he wrote.

Another friend, Russ Cullen, also wished his mate well and offered some words of advice.

“That ground will become firmer faster than you know it once it gets some sun and wind on it,” he commented.

“Don’t get impatient and chop up where you are and make it worse.”

Both Mr Allen and Mr Cullen were confident their friend would make it out safely.

“He knows what to do,” Mr Cullen said.

“If he waits and uses good judgment he will drive out of there no worries.”

The family of four headed off on their 12-month adventure around Australia in November 2020 and were on their way home to Perth for Christmas when they became stuck.

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