Australian police find body believed to be of missing hiker

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian police said on Wednesday they believe they have found the remains of a woman missing in the country’s remote outback for weeks.

“Police located the body, which is believed to be that Claire Hockridge during search efforts,” Northern Territory police said in an emailed statement.

Hockridge has been missing since she went hiking with two friends two weeks ago.

One of them, Phu Tran, 40, was found on Tuesday by a local farmer at a cattle station near Alice Springs. He said he survived soaring temperatures by drinking water meant for livestock.

Tran was found three days after his friend Tamra McBeath-Riley was found about 1.5 km (0.9 miles) from the car they had been traveling in through Australia’s remote north.

McBeath-Riley said the car became bogged down in the soft desert roads in the region.

For a few days, the group stayed close to the car, surviving on the limited supplies they had packed, McBeath-Riley said.

After running out of water, Phu Tran and Hockridge went looking for help, taking only a compass and a GPS.

Police had originally hoped that Hockridge would be found alive after she and Phu Tran found water, though the pair separated some time before he was found.

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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