Rescuer reveals the heart-in-mouth moment he found the shoes of a woman, 62, missing in the desert for four days - before discovering her delirious on a bush track
- 62-year-old miraculously saved by local ranger after being missing for days
- Kelsey Bell's car broke down on Gibb River Road in the Kimberley region, WA
- She then wandered down a remote path before being rescued by local ranger
A woman lost and feared dead in the outback has been saved by a ranger in a miracle rescue after he stumbled on her while checking local fire damage.
Kelsey Bell's car broke down on the rural Gibb River Road in the north of Western Australia's Kimberley region on Sunday and she stumbled more than 20km through the bush in bare feet in search of help.
The 62-year-old woman was on a 4000km trip from Western Australia to Darwin when she decided to take the four-wheel drive track in the Kimberley region.
On Tuesday concerned locals contacted WA Police when they came across the abandoned vehicle.
It was originally thought she may have got a ride from a passing motorist but after finding no recent bank activity, WA Police launched a hunt for her in the remote area.
A woman has been miraculously saved by a ranger in the middle of the bush in a tale of the right place right time as he stumbled on her as he went to inspect fire damage in the local area
Kelsey Bell and her dog (pictured) stumbled more than 20km through the bush in bare feet
Temperatures in the area at the time were close to 40C and there was no indication of where she had headed.
It turned out she went south by foot on the 50km Kuranjie track, an area only frequented in the hot months by the Nyaliga ranger group, who do fire management and landcare in the area.
Head ranger Arnold Sahanna on Thursday decided to check for bushfire damage on the track and stumbled over the missing woman, almost certainly saving her life.
Mr Sahanna told ABC News he was overcome with emotion when he found Ms Bell on the remote bush track.
'I saw her shoes first, and my blood ran cold,' he said.
'So I was shocked and so relieved when I found her sitting under a tree with her dog – I reckon one or two more days and she would have died.'
Head ranger Arnold Sahanna (pictured) on Thursday decided to check for bushfire damage on the track, a decision which most likely saved the life of Ms Bell
Mr Sahanna said his blood 'ran cold' when he came across the shoes and was overcome with emotion when he found Ms Bell sitting under a tree with her dog
When Mr Sahanna found the 62-year-old badly malnourished and it took more than an hour to help Ms Bell and coax her traumatised dog into his car.
Ms Bell told Mr Sahanna 'Thank God you came' to which he responded, 'Thank God I found you — everyone's looking for you.'
Mr Sahanna said the rescue showed the importance of local rangers in the area.
'Without the ranger program, I wouldn't have any reason to be out there and I don't think anyone would have found her then,' he said.
Ms Bell was taken to Kununurra Hospital and has since been released.