A 62-year-old recreational hunter lost in a hot and arid region of the Australian Outback survived without water for six days – by eating ants.
Police said Reg Foggerdy left a car driven by his brother last Wednesday in pursuit of a camel in the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia state.
Police trackers found the former miner sitting under a tree on Tuesday nine miles from where he became lost.
A police spokesman said Mr Foggerdy had spent the last two days sitting under a tree eating black ants.
He said the hunter “was extremely dehydrated, disoriented and basically delusional”.
Mr Foggerdy was airlifted by the Royal Flying Doctor Service for hospital treatment.
The brothers had been driving back to their camp 110 miles east of the nearest town, Laverton, after a day’s hunting when Mr Foggedy went missing wearing only a T-shirt, shorts, a cap and flip flops.
Temperatures reached up to 37C, police said.
A paramedic immediately gave Mr Foggerdy intravenous fluid when he was found and he recovered quickly. He was taken to Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital.
Police Superintendent Andy Greatwood would not speculate on how much longer Mr Foggerdy could have survived.
“It was probably good will and a miracle that he survived as long as he did under those conditions with no water,” Mr Greatwood said.
Camels were taken to Australia in the 19th century as pack animals to pioneer the island continent’s dry interior, and hundreds of thousands of feral ancestors now run wild in remote regions.