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Teen Stranded in Australian Outback Survived on Contact Lens Solution

Update Date: Feb 19, 2013 01:14 PM EST

A British teenager stranded in the Australian outback for three days survived on contact lens fluid before being rescued.

Sam Derry-Woodhead, 18, from Richmond upon Thames, just outside London was spotted from the air Friday about six miles from a station in Queensland where has been vacationing for 10 days during his gap year, according to the National Post.

The gaunt and dazed Derry-Woodhead had lost 33 pounds in the three days and could only as his rescuers "Where am I?" when he was found.  He was very sunburned, weak and severely dehydrated.

His cousin, Rob Derry, who had traveled from Hong Kong, to join the search was one of the first people to see Derry-Woodhead.

"He was pretty gaunt - he was taking it all in," Derry said, according to the National Post.  "I just gave him a big hug. There were a few smiles. He was relieved. I don't know what was going through his mind. I haven't spoken to him about the ordeal. He's got to take his time."

Volunteer rescuer Mark Tysoe told the paper that the Derry-Woodhead could barely say anything at first and appeared extremely disoriented.

"He just asked where he was," Tysoe told the National Post. "He was sun burnt and had cracked lips and could only just speak."

Derry-Woodhead was spending a few weeks at Upshot Station in the Australian outback as a "jackaroo" learning to head cattle and live like a cowboy, according to Discovery News.

He had gone for a jog with a liter of water but got lost and was unable to find his way back to the ranch.  He had taken a bottle of water with him on his jog, but had finished it within an hour.  He said he began drinking his contact saline solution as well as his own urine to stay hydrated.

Rescue crews on horseback, quad-bikes, motorbikes, four-wheel-drives, light aircraft and helicopters were sent out to search the 135,000 acres of surrounding scrubland for the stranded teen. Fortunately, rescuers managed to find the weak and severely dehydrated, but otherwise unharmed Derry-Woodhead on the third day after his disappearance, according to the National Post. 

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