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Australian woman safe after 17 days lost in bush

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Media captionShannon Leah Fraser's boyfriend, Heath Cassady, said he could feel it in his heart that she was alive

An Australian woman has been found 17 days after she got lost in the bush in northern Queensland with no food.

Shannon Leah Fraser stumbled out of the bush on Wednesday morning, reported local media.

The 30-year-old had gone to the Golden Hole swimming spot with two men, including her partner, when she disappeared on 21 September.

She is now recovering in a hospital and is being treated for infected cuts and severe sunburn.

Ms Fraser's companions first raised the alarm after she got separated from them and failed to return to their vehicle, said Queensland Police.

The mother-of-three's disappearance sparked a search operation involving 25 officers from the police and state emergency services.

Divers combed the pond while officers searched the area on foot and quad bikes. Helicopter searches were conducted as well, with search teams dropping coloured markers.

Family members said Ms Fraser followed these markers out of the bush.

Image copyright QUEENSLAND POLICE
Image caption About 25 officers from Queensland Police and state emergency services looked for Ms Fraser

Police said she was eventually found just 30m from where she disappeared. Asked by reporters why teams did not find her, country patrol group Inspector Rhys Newton said her movements had "gone out of what we could reasonably expect a person who is lost in those circumstances".

A banana farmer who was having his breakfast spotted her when she came out of the bush at 08:00 on Wednesday, and immediately sent her to a nearby hospital, said the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Family members told media that Ms Fraser had survived on creek water, small fish and insects. At one point, she sat in a creek for three days to soothe her cuts and burns.

They also said she had to fend off wild animals such as a cassowary and a freshwater crocodile.

Ms Fraser, who weighed 90kg previously, reportedly lost about 16kg during her ordeal.

Her partner, Heath Cassady, told the Courier Mail that they had been on a "bender" prior to her disappearance and had gone to Golden Hole to "chill out".

"Her whole body is scarred and peeling, she's been through a lot," Mr Cassady said. "It is amazing she's still alive."

Police are still investigating how she disappeared, but a spokesman told reporters on Thursday that they do not believe that there were any suspicious circumstances.

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