Woman survives 17 days lost in Australian rainforest

Shannon Fraser, 30, went missing on Sept 21 near the remote Josephine Falls in Queensland state after becoming disorientated, wearing just leggings, a shirt and flip flops. -- PHOTO: QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICE
Shannon Fraser, 30, went missing on Sept 21 near the remote Josephine Falls in Queensland state after becoming disorientated, wearing just leggings, a shirt and flip flops. -- PHOTO: QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICE

SYDNEY (AFP) - A woman missing for more than two weeks in a rugged Australian rainforest has stumbled out alive after surviving a chase by a crocodile and eating small fish, officials and reports said.

Shannon Fraser, 30, went missing on Sept 21 near the remote Josephine Falls in Queensland state after becoming disorientated, wearing just leggings, a shirt and flip flops.

She was spotted by a banana farmer on Wednesday, covered in cuts, welts, bruises and insect bites, the Brisbane Courier-Mail reported.

"She's lost lots of weight, she's covered in cuts and scratches, but she's in good spirits," her brother Dylan Fraser told the newspaper.

Police confirmed the mother-of-three had been found safe and well, but provided no further information.

Her brother Dylan told national radio that his sister cried herself to sleep for 16 nights, but the thought of her children made her persevere each day to reach safety.

"She just stayed strong, and made it out," he said, adding that she lost nearly 17 kg during her ordeal.

The Courier-Mail said Fraser told her family that during her feat of survival she came face-to-face with a giant cassowary flightless bird and got chased by a two-metre freshwater crocodile.

A report by ABC News said Fraser was dehydrated and so severely sunburnt she had to repeatedly submerge herself in a stream during her ordeal to cope with the pain.

Her partner Heath Cassady, who reported her missing and headed a fruitless search effort for the last two weeks, said he was overjoyed that she was back safely.

"Her whole body is scarred and peeling, she's been through a lot," he said.

"It is amazing she's still alive."

Fraser remains in hospital in a stable condition, an ABC News report said late Thursday, adding that she had proposed to Cassady just two days before she went missing.  

“There was no way she was gone,” Mr Cassady added.  “I could always feel in my heart that she was alive.”