A 3-day-old baby stranded with her family in the blistering hot desert of the Australian outback survived the ordeal that killed three youngsters and her father.
Gavin Spence, an Alice Springs police aide, became stranded with 11 members of his extended family when their four-wheel-drive Toyota Landcruiser broke down on a remote bush track 210 miles northwest of Alice Springs Friday.Spence, an experienced aboriginal tracker, died from heat exhaustion less than 2 miles from a water hole after walking 14 miles in searing heat to try and find help and water.
The bodies of two of his daughters, ages 3 and 8, and a 9-year-old girl relative were found later several miles apart along the track where they had dropped in their vain trek for water.
Police rescued the other eight in the ill-fated party, including a 3-day-old girl Saturday, and they were recovering in hospital in Alice Springs, in the center of Australia. The infant was in satisfactory condition Sunday.
The survivors were saved by a mercy dash by the famed Royal Flying Doctor Service, police said.
Greg Thomson, a reporter on the Centralian Advocate newspaper in Alice Springs, said police were still trying to piece together the puzzle of the tragedy, but were being hampered by the traditional aboriginal "sorry camp," or tribal period of mourning.
Police Superintendent Robin Bullock said he did not know all of the details of the incident but surmised the baby was born either in the stalled Landcruiser or along the track in the open, where temperatures had shot well above 100 degrees for the past few days.