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Backpacker 'naked, screaming for help' after escaping alleged attacker in South Australia

A group of fishermen have described the harrowing moment a terrified young European backpacker emerged from sand dunes at a remote South Australian beach - naked, bleeding and begging for their help.

The woman, aged in her 20s, immediately jumped into the back seat of the men's vehicle late on Tuesday afternoon and screamed "Get me out of here, get me out of here! He's going to kill us all", one of the fishermen, Abdul-Karim Mohammed, told 7News.

"We were shocked when we seen her and then we go, 'There's something really bad going on here,' " Mr Mohammad said.

"She was just screaming, crying, yelling. She had some scratches and that on the legs. Looked like she'd been pulled around, dragged around and that."

The traumatised woman also told the fishermen how her friend, also a young European backpacker, was still in the sand dunes near Salt Creek, in the Coorong National Park south-east of Adelaide, with a man who had allegedly abducted, raped and attempted to kill them.


Rescuers soon found the second backpacker, who was seriously injured and barely conscious in the sand dunes. The women were flown to Flinders Medical Centre with serious injuries. Their conditions are listed as stable.

7News reported that one of the backpackers told her rescuers that one of them was hit over the head with a hammer during their ordeal, while the other was driven over in a vehicle. At least one of the women was believed to have been tied up, 7News reported.

Detectives were called to the national park about 6.30pm on Tuesday and arrested a 59-year-old man from Morphett Vale, in Adelaide's south. He was charged with attempted murder, unlawful sexual intercourse without consent and kidnapping.

His right arm was chained to the wall and he was wearing a white hospital gown when he appeared via video link in Adelaide Magistrate's Court on Wednesday afternoon. He said nothing during the brief court appearance, and was remanded to reappear in court in April.

Police Superintendent James Blandford said the women had met the man on Tuesday, and had planned to camp on the beach that night.

"Effectively these two ladies have been driving with a newly acquainted person and effectively found themselves in a situation which has turned out to be rather scary and physically bad for them," he said.

He said the trio had set up camp at the end of an access road, before the man allegedly turned on them.

"One of the victims was able to run away and came across some people who were fishing in the area and they were able to comfort and secure her and make phone calls to police," he said.

Superintendent Blandford said the situation for the women was "very dire".

In court, police prosecutors asked that the man's name, image, vehicle and any details on how he met the alleged victims be suppressed from publication.

7News reported that the man's Facebook page showed him posing with a gun, and documented other trips to Salt Creek with a family member.

He also operated several Facebook pages and had a profile on a dating website, which said he was searching for a new wife, and wanted to meet girls aged 22 to 56 for dating, friendship and serious relationships, Adelaide's Advertiser reports.

His dating profile said he was "respectful to women and gets along with everyone, well almost", and wanted his potential partner to be able to cook Chinese food, love kids, be well presented, slender, athletic, respectful and honest.

The Advertiser spoke to another fisherman involved in the rescue, who described how "a girl came out of the dunes, waving her hands and screaming [and] naked, we didn't know what was going on. She ran to the car, screaming hysterically, we realised something is wrong".

"She was telling us about her friend, her friend was lost in the dunes and she was worried about it," the unnamed fisherman said.

"Her and her friend split up. They were running different directions ... She got away and she said 'I want to find my friend.' "

The fishermen immediately contacted Salt Creek roadhouse, and police and paramedics were called.

The fishermen worked with police to help catch the alleged attacker, who was arrested at a nearby campsite soon after police arrived.

"We sealed off the routes so nobody could escape and helped the police when they came," one fisherman told The Advertiser.

The proprietor of the Salt Creek roadhouse, Adam Stewart, said he received a panicked phone call from a fisherman on Tuesday afternoon telling him that they had found a woman on the beach.

"It was extremely graphic and the panic in the boys was really evident, especially when they got there," he said.

"They didn't know if she was a man or a woman, unfortunately she was in a really bad way. We wish her the best because it's not nice."