Their parents were dead, their SUV overturned, but three children under the age of five managed to survive in the searing heat of the Australian Outback for 55 hours, local media reported.
Their remaining family has called it “a miracle.”
Jake Day and Cindy Braddock “were involved in a fatal car accident in Western Australia on Christmas morning,” a GoFundMe set up by Day’s cousin Casey Guyer said.
“Devastatingly Jake and Cindy did not survive the accident,” he said, adding that “it was a miracle their beautiful babies survived for over two days in the Australian Outback before being rescued.”
The children have not been named.
Day and Braddock were reported missing in the early hours of Christmas morning, sparking a massive police search, Australian broadcaster 7News reported.
As the hours went by with no news, Braddock’s sister, Helen Braddock, turned to Facebook to ask for help. She said the family had left the small town of Northam to “go home to Kondinin,” another small town around 125 miles away.
In a separate interview with 7News, another of Day’s cousins, Michael Read, said that the eldest of the three children, a 5-year-old girl, had freed her 1-year-old brother by undoing the buckle of his car seat.
Describing her as “intelligent,” he said that her brother “wouldn’t be with us today,” unless she had done this.
Inspector Tony Vuleta, of the Wheatbelt District Office of the Western Australia Police Force told 7News that the two older children were outside the vehicle when authorities arrived at the scene and the infant was still inside.
Their vehicle was discovered just over 5 miles from their home in Kondinin.
Both siblings, along with the 3-year-old, were taken to hospital, Guyer said on his fundraising page.
“I have been to visit the kids and can not get over their strength,” he said.