In a dramatic rescue operation, the Victoria Police Department successfully saved Lillian Ip, a 48-year-old resident of Cheltenham, who found herself stranded for five harrowing days in the unforgiving Australian wilderness. Ip's ordeal began when she took a wrong turn while en route to visit her mother in Bright, leading her to a dead-end in the dense and treacherous Mitta Mitta bushland, approximately 250 miles northeast of Melbourne. As she attempted to maneuver her car back on track, the tires became firmly entrenched in the muddy terrain. Ip's predicament was exacerbated by the lack of cellular network coverage in the area, rendering her unable to call for assistance. Moreover, due to pre-existing health conditions, she was physically unable to trek the roughly 40 miles to the nearest town. Faced with limited options, she made a courageous decision to remain near her vehicle, desperately hoping to catch the attention of a rescuer.
Speaking to News 9 Melbourne, Ip recounted the moments of despair and uncertainty she experienced during her grueling ordeal. "I thought I was going to die out there," she admitted. The weight of her situation was heavy on her mind as she pondered her survival prospects, questioning, "What am I going to do? How am I going to survive this?" According to a press release by Sergeant Martin Torpey of Wodonga Police Station, it was revealed that Lillian Ip had embarked on a short-day trip without carrying sufficient supplies. The snacks and lollies she had brought along were inadequate, and she had no water on her person. In fact, the only liquids she had were a juice box and a bottle of wine she intended to present as a gift to her mother. Although Ip does not consume alcohol, she rationed the wine as her sole source of hydration. Describing the severity of her situation, Ip shared, "My whole body shut down on Friday." On April 30th, when Ip's family failed to reach her, they reported her as missing, prompting a search operation by the Victoria Police. The Victoria Police Air Wing, a specialized response division responsible for conducting aerial patrols in the metropolitan Melbourne area, conducted a thorough sweep of the hilly landscape. It was during this search that they spotted Ip standing near her car, waving at the helicopter. The police commended Ip for exercising great common sense by refraining from wandering away from her vehicle. Ip was promptly transported to a hospital to receive treatment for dehydration. Fortunately, she was swiftly cleared for release after receiving medical care. Remarkably, Ip's sense of humor remained intact despite the challenging ordeal. When asked about the taste of the survival wine by News 9, Ip, who does not drink alcohol, simply responded, "S***." Ip's survival story serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of adequate preparation when venturing into remote areas. It also highlights the significance of rescue efforts carried out by law enforcement agencies in ensuring the safety of individuals in distress. Despite facing difficulties, Lillian Ip's ability to remain resilient and her commendable decision-making played a pivotal role in her ultimate rescue and safe return.