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Dutch tourist leaves Spanish hospital after miracle rescue

Published on 07/07/2011

A Dutch woman left a hospital in Spain Thursday a day after she was rescued unharmed after spending 18 days trapped at the bottom of a ravine without any food.

Mary-Anne Goossens, who wore sunglasses, entered into a car with tinted windows that was waiting for her outside of the hospital in the southern city of Velez-Malaga as her daughter Jantje and son Fritz looked on.

Spanish media said she was in good health, having shown only signs of dehydration and malnutrition.

Jantje said her mother lost 10 pounds (4.5 kilos) and survived by drinking water from a nearby river and thinking about how in two years she would celebrate her 50th birthday.

“She thought of how the party would be, the food that will be served and who she will invite. She just kept looking forwards to the future, a happy future, never backwards,” Jantje told reporters outside of the hospital.

Goossens went for a hike on her own along a river near the resort town of Nerja on June 16, a day after she arrived in Spain, and became trapped in a pit at the bottom of a steep ravine.

Three hikers spotted her on Wednesday and left her some food before alerting emergency services, who then evacuated her by helicopter.

“We heard cries of ‘Help me! Help me! and some whistles so we went to the edge of the trail and we looked down at the river. We saw a woman and we decided to descend to where she was,” said one of the hikers, Francisco Conde.

“She told us she had spent 18 days trapped in the pit and during this time she only drank water from the river. She said she had been very cold and to stay warm she put twigs inside her clothes,” the 27-year-old told the online ediction of daily newspaper El Mundo.

The woman also made a bed out of grass to remain warm, Conde aded.

Another one of the hikers, Daniel Sanchez, said Goossens could barely speak when they reached her.

“Even so, she was conscious the entire time of what she was saying and of the situation she found herself in,” the 24-year-old added.

The three hikers left the woman with food and a sleeping bag and blanket to stay warm before heading out to get help since the region was not covered by mobile telephone networks.