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German visitors in croc ordeal

German tourists stranded on a flood plain for 48 hours

Nov 22, 2011

Four German tourists stranded on a flood plain for 48 hours after their four-wheel-drive vehicle was bogged have said they thought they would die on the remote Territory stretch.

A helicopter pulled the young men to safety after fishermen spotted the group about midday on Sunday. They survived on three litres of water and three packets of two-minute noodles, while surrounded by crocodiles.

Survivor Uwe Niedermowe, 26, yesterday said the group was lucky to be alive.

"I was thinking everything," he said. "Maybe you will die here."

Mr Niedermowe, Leo Herzog, 20, Yari Vaculik, 21, and Uli Bauer, 26, had intended to do just a few hours of four-wheel-driving during a holiday of a lifetime.

The group's Landcruiser troop carrier got bogged on a track near Hardies Creek close to Mary River National Park on Friday afternoon.

They spent 12 hours over two days trying to dig it out, with little water and food to sustain them.

"We tried to dig the car out of the shit," Mr Niedermowe said. "We were just digging all the time.

"After about eight hours we were so dusty.

"We just wanted to drink but we didn't have any water. We started in the morning digging again but we are running totally out of water.

"We tried to get some water and started to drink the water from the river - from the billabongs as well. It's not very tasty. But in this situation I reckon we would drink anything to survive."

The men didn't dare to cross back over Hardies Creek because of crocodiles.

"There was no way to get back," Mr Niedermowe said. "You could see the crocs everywhere."

The group walked from their car at sunrise on Sunday because they thought they had seen road lights, which turned out to be fishos on Corroboree Billabong.

The group's $15,000 car with all their belongings inside remains bogged at the flood plain.

Mr Herzog, Mr Vaculik and Mr Bauer paid for the vehicle with their earnings from working around Australia. They appealed to the public to help them retrieve the car before the Wet hits.

"We are homeless. It's a shit feeling, really," Mr Herzog said.

"There's not much to say. All we have left is our passports - that's it," Mr Vaculik said.

German tourists stranded on a flood plain for 48 hours
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