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Female Backpackers in Australia Escape Alleged Kidnap, Murder Attempt

by Alexander Smith /

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Two female backpackers in rural Australia narrowly escaped with their lives after a man they were camping with held them captive and attempted to kill them, police and local media said.

The women suffered serious injuries during the ordeal in the remote Coorong National Park, around 100 miles outside the southern city of Adelaide, South Australia Police said in a statement early Wednesday.

Superintendent James Blandford told reporters the backpackers were rescued after one of the women managed to escape Tuesday and ran into a group of fishermen, who called police.

“She ran straight to the car yelling," one fisherman told NBC's Australian partner Seven News. "She opened the back door, jumped straight in and like, ‘get me out of here, get me out of here. He’s going to kill us all.’”

Officers searched the area with the help of local residents and found the second backpacker, badly injured.

A 59-year-old man was arrested near the scene and charged with kidnapping and attempted murder, the police statement added. It did not identify the victims or the suspect. Police would not provide details on how the women and suspect initially came into contact.

According to Seven News, the women had been traveling with the man before he attacked them while they camped among the national park's sand dunes.

The suspect — whose car was was found covered in blood — appeared in court Wednesday and was remanded in custody to reappear again in April, Channel 7 reported.

The women were transported to an Adelaide medical center with serious injuries and remained in a stable condition Wednesday morning, the police statement said.

"Their conditions are not life-threatening but obviously there are some serious injuries," Blandford said. "[The alleged victims'] situation was obviously very dire and they were somewhat distressed."

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