Couple rescued from Australian outback after writing 'help' in the mud

Couple rescued from Australian outback after writing 'help' in the mud

An Australian couple have been rescued from a crocodile-infested area of Australia's remote outback after lighting a fire and writing the word "help" in the mud to alert search crews.

20-year-old Colen Nulgit and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Shantelle Johnson, went fishing on Sunday in Keep River National Park, in the Northern Territory near the border of Western Australia.

Their day out did not go to plan, however, after their truck became "bogged" (Australian slang for getting stuck in mud), forcing them to succumb to a freezing, sleepless overnight stay.

"Our hearts sank," Nulgit told CNN. "Just the feeling of getting bogged ... it's just pretty scary."

According to the Northern Territory Government, there are saltwater crocodiles in all waterways around the park.

Nulgit confirmed that they had seen crocodile tracks earlier in the day, so as the waters rose and the sun set, the pair became increasingly afraid of being attacked by wild animals, or swept away by a tide.

"These crocodiles that we get here, they're not afraid of humans, they're not afraid of anything," he continued to the publication.  "Food's food for them. Anything is food."

Meanwhile, in their home town of Kununurra - 1.5 hours' drive away from the park - Johnson's mother had grown worried when the pair failed to return home, and had contacted the police.

Credit: Western Australia Police Force

Nulgit detailed that they had huddled under a sheet away from the river. They then proceeded to write "help" in large letters in the dry mud using a fence post at around 4 AM on Monday morning, but had little hope, with Nulgit conceding that "Hardly anyone goes out that way."

Kununurra police had gathered a search party using a plane from a local company, and luckily, the pair thought to light a fire as soon as they heard the aircraft passing over the area.

"If they had not lit the fire and advised family members details of when they were departing and an expected return time, the couple may not have been located," the police statement read.

The experience hasn't put Nulgit and Johnson off from exploring the Outback again, although they asserted that they'd be bringing a recovery and emergency kit next time.

"I'm just grateful for everyone who pitched in and helped and came out to look for us," Nulgit concluded. "We're pretty lucky surviving and getting out of that."