Kathleen Bautista: How did Canberra teenager survive in the bush for seven days?

Alexandra Back
Published: September 11, 2015 – 7:53PM

A survival expert believes Kathleen Bautista being found alive after six nights alone in the bush came down to her determination to live.

Last Saturday, 19-year-old Ms Bautista’s car tumbled down an embankment in the bush 30 kilometres west from Canberra, landing upside-down in a creek.

With injuries to her legs and abdomen that limited her ability to walk, Ms Bautista crawled several hundred metres from her car to the top of the other side of the embankment, where she was found on Friday morning, six days later.

She reportedly drank creek water, but hadn’t eaten in that time. Temperatures last week in Canberra dropped to below zero  degrees, to minus 2.7 early on Wednesday morning, while days were fortunately milder and it didn’t rain. While there were trees and rocks in the area, it’s not known, how, or if, she was able to find shelter.

There’s an old survival doctrine, the rule of three – a human can’t go without air for three minutes, shelter for three hours, water for three days and food for three weeks – which Ms Bautista at least came close to breaking.

But Rich Hungerford, an ex-SAS soldier who now runs Bush Lore Australia, a survival training company, said what was  more important than the rule of three was keeping “emotionally intact”.

“Emotional control and emotional intelligence is a massive, massive part of who survives and who doesn’t,” he said.

He said that people who went through extreme circumstances and came out alive tended to be those who could manage the troughs and peaks of emotion they experienced.

“When we think about survival we often think about shelter, food, fire. At the end of the day, it’s really about that internal grit, that’s the difference.

“[Ms Bautista] may have had some reason to anchor herself back to the world she’s living in. That to me, that’s what makes people stand out. She’s got that grit, that drive to keep going,” Mr Hungerford said.

He said that Ms Bautista’s experience was “an incredible thing, but it’s not as incredible as people often think”.

“Human beings are designed to survive, we’re an incredible species.

“There are thousands of stories of people who suffer tremendous injury or hardship and they come through and it’s not necessarily the people who have training, or equipment.”

This story was found at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/kathleen-bautista-how-did-canberra-teenager-survive-in-the-bush-for-seven-days-20150911-gjkp0c.html

An amazing story about what must be a very strong young lady in Canberra. A huge thanks must go out to the search parties involved and the Canberra community for their diligent efforts.

Anyone interested in joining the emergency services will need to gain a first aid certificate by completing a first aid course in Canberra. Please see our website and check when the next available dates are to book in.

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