A New Zealand woman who became lost in a forest for 24 hours during a running race drank her own breast milk "to keep me going" and heaped dirt over herself to keep warm.
Susan O'Brien took a wrong turn during the Xterra race through Wellington's Rimutaka Forest Park and a search and rescue operation was launched after she failed to reach the finish line on Sunday morning.
The 29-year-old, who was airlifted out of the forest about 11.30am local time Monday, told reporters she "definitely thought I was going to die". Thoughts of her baby, her son and family kept her going, she said.
Despite having two litres of water with her, gel packs and an energy bar, the mother-of-two said she also drank her own breast milk to sustain her through the cold night.
She told the Dominion Post: "I'm breast-feeding my baby so I had a bit of my milk, which I thought, that should help me keep going."
Mrs O'Brien, a fitness trainer, said she got very cold and wet as night descended, so dug a hole in the forest floor and lay in it. She then blanketed herself in dirt to keep warm.
She said: "I didn't have a life blanket so I thought I was going to die. I was just so cold".
She added: "I just kept chucking dirt on myself and every time I heard something I kept screaming 'help'."
Mrs O'Brien's first duty after emerging from the forest was to feed her eight-month-old daughter, Meisha, who she was united with, along with son Jayden, and her family in a tearful scene.