An Australian family was stranded after their camper got stuck in the desert following heavy rains. We were worried they could be there for a couple of weeks as the area is impassable to rescuers, but, on Tuesday, we got the update we weren’t expecting.
This article has been updated since it was first published.
Back in November 2020, Orios and Lindsey Zavros embarked on a journey of a lifetime with their two kids. The family took a custom Mitsubishi Canter camper from their home in Perth through Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. They wanted to “cover every aspect of Australia” reports 7News, and they’ve gone far. Unfortunately, their rig met its match on the trip back home as the family crossed the Simpson Desert.
Parts of the region were inundated with rains, flooding out roads in the remote area. The Zavros and their Mitsubishi found themselves right in the middle of it and eventually stuck. They activated an emergency GPS beacon and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority found them within hours, dropping supplies and a phone.
Thankfully, there are no injuries.
Images showed the Mitsubishi to be practically glued to its spot. To make matters worse, the area is remote and so soaked that rescuers were unable to reach it by land. They were about 150 km northwest of Oodnadatta, too.
But, on Tuesday, it was good news all-round with the family being saved.
After five days stranded in the bogged camper, the ABC reports the Zavros’ were smiling as they arrived in Coober Pedy.
They activated their emergency beacon at 10 am last Friday after the roads became inaccessible following torrential rain.
“After the first couple of days we sort of realised that we wanted to get out of there pretty quick,” Mr Zavros told the ABC.
Temperatures are expected to rise above 40 degrees Celsius later this week in the region, so it was pretty important the family got out.
“We were concerned that we might have got stuck there for a few weeks, worried about the heat,” he added.
Let’s talk about the rig
The camping rig is a 2006 Mitsubishi Canter 4×4. Orios and Lindsey built the camper that’s loaded onto the Canter’s flatbed by hand, and it not only has the usual off-grid stuff like solar power and batteries, but they even included a toilet, shower and a washing machine. It works like a truck bed camper where it uses jacks for loading and unloading.
In an interview last year with Expedition Portal, the Zavros’ say that they’re longtime off-roaders. Part of the inspiration for the build was being able to carry a bunch of weight in a camper without exceeding legal limits. They also wanted to explore extreme parts of Australia without having to drag a trailer around.
Reading through the build sounds a lot like the campers we’ve written about here. The truck also has a low range, 37-inch all-terrain tires and a limited-slip rear differential. It has lots of recovery gear, including a 7,711 kg winch up front and a 5,443 kg winch out back. They say it’s been through a lot of harsh terrain already without getting stuck, some of it covered on the family’s Instagram.
Anyway, good to hear the family is safe and on solid ground!