Australian children survive 55 hours next to dead parents in SUV

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Three Australian children have survived a horrific car accident that claimed their parents’ lives – and then spent a harrowing 55 hours in extreme heat before being rescued.

Parents Cindy Braddock, 25, and Jake Day, 28, were killed on Christmas Day when their Land Rover overturned on the Corrigin-Kondinin road, just a few miles from their home in Kondinin, Western Australia, local ABC reported.

The couple’s children – a 5-year-old girl, a 2-year-old boy and a 1-year-old boy – survived the horrific crash but had to endure 55 hours in the wreckage amid 86-degree weather.

The heroic girl managed to unbuckle her 1-year-old brother’s seat belt and free him from the car seat – which, according to the family, probably saved his life.

His 2-year-old brother remained strapped to his seat more than two days after the sinking.

The family was reported missing after they failed to make it to a Christmas celebration after they left Northam, around 80km east of Perth, and were on their way home.

Cindy Braddock and Jake Day died after their car overturned just a few miles from their home in Kondinin, Australia, on Christmas Day.
Cindy Braddock and Jake Day died after their car overturned just a few miles from their home in Kondinin, Australia, on Christmas Day.
Facebook/Cindy Braddock

A gas station attendant in Northam told ABC the family had stopped for gas and snacks before starting the ill-fated journey.

“He told me he was going to Kondinin and that it was a couple of hours by car,” Nathan O’Donnell told the agency, referring to Day.

“He looked exhausted…didn’t buy a coffee. Then he left, I said to him, ‘Good luck with the long trip.’ Unfortunately, he never made it,” the official said.

When they never showed up, Cindy’s sister, Helen Braddock, posted a message on Facebook asking for help.

The couple's 5-year-old daughter, 2-year-old son and 1-year-old son were trapped in the crashed Land Rover in 86-degree weather.
The couple’s 5-year-old daughter, 2-year-old son and 1-year-old son were trapped in the crashed Land Rover in 86-degree weather.
gofundme.com

“Has anyone seen Jake Day or Cindy Braddock since Christmas Day when they left Northam for Kondinin but haven’t come home and haven’t made contact with anyone since,” she wrote.

When family friends finally found the wreckage, the children were suffering from extreme dehydration and were taken to Perth Children’s Hospital, where they are listed in stable condition.

Day’s cousin, Michael Read, told reporters that the orphaned children waited for help in the suffocating vehicle alongside their dead parents.

“It would have been difficult for the three children to be in the car the whole time. Nobody knows what they went through,” he said, according to ABC.

“And if it weren’t for the 5-year-old unbuckling the 1-year-old car seat, he wouldn’t be with us today,” Read said. “But all the children are fine. They should come out in the next few days.

The family was on its way to a Christmas party before it crashed.
The family was on its way to a Christmas party before it crashed.
Facebook/Cindy Braddock

Local politician Darren Pool said residents were in shock over the tragedy.

“Being so close to the city and nobody noticed,” he said, reported the Guardian. “People have been walking past him for a few days now. That’s probably the biggest shock for me.”

Read wondered about the future of little tragedians.

“It’s tough having three kids growing up with nobody — other than other family members,” he told ABC. “We are taking it slowly at the moment.”

He urged drivers to stop and rest if they feel tired behind the wheel.

“Know what your body’s limits are, don’t drive tired,” Read said. “If you’re going to want to be somewhere, stay overnight with a family. Not worth it.”

A GoFundMe page raised nearly $73,000 for the family.

“Devastatingly, Jake and Cindy did not survive the crash, but an angel was watching over the children as it was a miracle that their beautiful babies survived more than two days in the Australian outback before being rescued,” wrote organizers Casey Guyer and Kailee Wallace .

“The children are currently in the hospital with their family and are doing well considering the circumstances,” they added.

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