Haunting snap from 'van life' family before they got bogged in outback

Eerie last picture posted by a ‘vanlife’ family-of-four stranded in the outback after getting stuck in the desert during heavy rains in ‘hectic and horrible’ ordeal – and there’s still no way to get them out

  • A young Perth family is stranded in the Simpson Desert in South Australia
  • An airplane was able to deliver essential supplies to the stranded family-of-four
  • Rescue effort will begin when weather conditions improve in coming days
  • The became bogged in their truck on Wednesday but are in good spirits 

A stranded family-of-four’s final picture before getting bogged down in the outback is a stark reminder of how quickly things can turn from good to very bad.

After arriving in remote Birdsville, Queensland, the Zavros family, who are travelling Australia in a van with their two young children, posted on Instagram on Thursday that ‘after three days of driving, we made it! Bring on the Simpson Desert.’

But it is in the Simpson Desert in South Australia where the family – parents Orios and Lindsey and their children Zoe and Zane – have been stranded for the past six days after torrential rains saw their van bogged in the middle of nowhere.

A young Perth family has been stranded in the Simpson Desert in South Australia for six days – with this their eerie last Instagram post before disaster struck

Posts on the family’s Instagram account shows little Zane and Zoe enjoying a swim in Fraser Island, a paddle-board in the Whitsundays and moments of everyday life in the van

The Zavros family set off an emergency beacon on Friday morning after their campervan became stuck about 150km north-west of Oodnadatta.

The beacon led to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority sending a plane from Melbourne’s Essendon Airport to deliver essential supplies to the Perth family. 

Along with food and water, DVDs, sweets and nappies were included in the delivery, as well as a letter from Mr Zavros’ parents. 

Mum Theo and dad Lagis Zavros spoke with their son and his family on ‘a very crackly satellite phone’ on Sunday. 

They were hugely relieved to find the family is coping well with their predicament. 

Orios, Zane, Lindsey and Zoe Zavros (pictured) have been travelling around Australia in a campervan

‘If you could pick the worst place in Australia to break down it would be there,’ Lagis Zavros told The West Australian. 

Mrs Zavros said the four-hour wait to get confirmation her family was safe had been ‘hectic and horrible’. 

AMSA and SA Police are coordinating a rescue effort which will begin when weather conditions improve in the coming days.

Though flying the family out of where they are stranded was considered, the preferred option is to dig their campervan out of the mud so they can make their own way out – but conditions still aren’t good enough.

The Zavros family could be stranded for another two weeks after their van became bogged (pictured), but supplies have been dropped to them

Mrs Zavros said three-year-old Zoe and two-year-old Zane were both coping well, but that the older child is more sensitive and understands some of what is going on.

Zane told his grandmother on the call: ‘Yaya, I love you’. Yaya is Greek for grandmother.    

Mr Zavros said the family waited two days before setting off their emergency beacon as they had hoped someone would be travelling past. 

But when that didn’t happen they realised they needed to alert the authorities about what happened. 

Recovery efforts on land have been hindered by bad weather with police statements estimating the family could be stranded for weeks. 

‘Vanlife’ couple Orios and Lindsey Zavros and their children Zoe and Zane (pictured) are currently stranded in the Simpson Desert in outback South Australia

The cold front responsible for the heavy showers hit South Australia on Wednesday, bringing gale-force winds and a near-record amount of rain.

The wild weather caused power outages in Adelaide and the Alberga River in the state’s far north to flow for the first time in 18 months.

The family has been careening across Australia since November 2020, with the modified vehicle taking them from the west coast of WA, across the south and east of South Australia, Darwin, and Queensland.

They documented their outback adventures in their ‘truck and home built camper’ on an Instagram account Trucking Oz.

The account boasts more than 4,000 followers with an accompanying YouTube channel also giving followers an inside look at the highs and lows of van life.

Mr Zavros built the modified Mitsubishi Canter (pictured) the family calls home from scratch

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