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Couple stuck in crocodile-filled marsh scratched ‘HELP’ in the sand, hoping for rescue

Stranded in the Australian outback

If they had not lit the fire, and advised family members of their travel plans, the couple may not have been located.
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If they had not lit the fire, and advised family members of their travel plans, the couple may not have been located.

A teenage Australian couple trapped in a crocodile-infested national park resorted to carving “HELP” in the sand as a distress signal and it actually worked, says the Western Australia Police Force.

The couple -- identified as Shantelle Johnson and Colen Nulgit -- went missing over the weekend with their dog, while fishing in Australia’s Northern Territory, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

A video released by police showed their vehicle had gotten hopelessly stuck in the sand alongside what SkyNews.com described as “crocodile-infested waters.” The vehicle was mired on the riverbank for 26 hours, “miles from the nearest help,” the station reported.

“When they did not return as scheduled, family contacted the Western Australia Police,” said a video posted on the police force’s Facebook page. “Police coordinated a search utilizing a fixed wing plane. Upon hearing the plane, the couple lit a fire to gain attention.”

An aerial video shot from the plane showed the couple’s vehicle stuck in the marsh, alongside the word “HELP” in huge letters dug into the sand. They also dug a big arrow, pointing to their vehicle.

In the video, white smoke can also be seen billowing from the fire they lit.

“If they had not lit the fire, and advised family members of their travel plans, the couple may not have been located,” police said on Facebook.

CNN reported Nulgit is 20 and Johnson is 18, and both live in Kununurra, about 90 minutes from Keep River National Park.

The couple became aware of the crocodiles after seeing tracks surrounding the vehicle, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“We stayed in the car the first night and then we saw the water rising,” Nulgit said, ABC reported. “We grabbed everything and took it about 20, 30 meters from the car.”

Alligators in one North Carolina swamp have proven it was no fluke last winter, when they survived a cold snap by freezing themselves in place with their noses above the ice. It has happened again.

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