Body of woman found after two weeks lost in the Australian outback

A body believed to be that of Ms Claire Hockridge (right) was found on Dec 4, 2019. Her two friends, (from left) Ms Tamra McBeath-Riley and Mr Phu Tran, were rescued earlier. The trio had set out from Alice Springs on Nov 19.
A body believed to be that of Ms Claire Hockridge (right) was found on Dec 4, 2019. Her two friends, (from left) Ms Tamra McBeath-Riley and Mr Phu Tran, were rescued earlier. The trio had set out from Alice Springs on Nov 19.PHOTO: NORTHERN TERRITORY POLICE

SYDNEY (AFP) - A body has been found in the search for a woman lost for more than two weeks in Australia's arid outback, police said on Wednesday (Dec 4) after two of her friends were rescued.

The three friends had set out to explore the country's vast interior near Alice Springs on Nov 19 when their car became bogged down in a river bed.

After three days staying put and waiting for a rescue, the group feared supplies were dwindling and two of them decided to walk along a property fence in the hope of finding help.

The lone person to stay back, Ms Tamra McBeath-Riley, 52, was found on Sunday less than 2km from the same vehicle suffering from dehydration.

She told public broadcaster ABC that the trio - accompanied by their blue Staffordshire terrier Raya - had survived by drinking pre-mixed vodka drinks and water from a hole dug for cattle, eating biscuits and sheltering in a hole dug under her car.

A local rancher then on Tuesday found 40-year-old man Phu Tran, "slightly disorientated" but in a "good condition" a two-day walk from the vehicle.

Mr Phu had split two days earlier from the third person, Ms Claire Hockridge, who was said to be "still fine" at that point, as police continued an aerial search for the 46-year-old.

Northern Territory police said on Wednesday they had located a body "which is believed to be that of Claire Hockridge during search efforts".

Police were conducting "formal identification" as they prepared a report for the coroner.