SOS message scrawled in dirt leads Australian police to find woman missing for three days

Bonnie Christian
Deborah Pilgrim scrawled an SOS message in the dirt, which led police to find her

An SOS message scrawled in dirt led police to find a woman missing for three days in remote Australia.

Deborah Pilgrim, 55, became separated from her camping group in South Australia on Sunday.

She was found late on Tuesday night, local time, after an SOS message she had written in the dirt at an empty property was spotted on a security camera.

"I thought I was on my own out there and nobody had any idea," she told reporters on Wednesday.

Deborah Pilgrim, 55, became lost on Sunday after separating from her camping group in South Australia

"I walked through the daytime and slept at night, found little shanty places, properties, that people weren't living in."

Ms Pilgrim said she also lit fires and left “calling cards” in the hope people were searching for her.

"I went out for a walk in the bush and, before I knew it, I didn't know where I was," she said.

"It's as simple as that."

Deborah Pilgrim said she thought no one was searching for her

A nearby property owner, Neil Marriott, told ABC Radio Adelaide on Wednesday morning he had been checking his CCTV footage intermittently, knowing Ms Pilgrim was missing in the area.

He spotted the SOS message scrawled in the dirt of his driveway and alerted police.

"I put two and two together and called police, but by the time they were able to get out there it was dark, so they found the 'SOS' on the ground but then they also found a hoodie jacket which obviously belonged to the lady."

Ms Pilgrim was located within hours in a neighbouring property, where she had access to water, and said the moment she was found by police was was "so overwhelming".

"I think I dropped to the ground," she said.

"I just ran towards them, it was wonderful."

Ms Pilgrim was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution but was found to be in “good health” and released on Wednesday morning local time.

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