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Female backpackers escape alleged kidnapping and murder in South Australian bush

Two female backpackers have survived a terrifying ordeal after a man allegedly tried to kidnap and murder them in South Australian bushland on Tuesday. 

Suffering serious injuries, the international backpackers aged in their 20s were discovered by local fishermen near Salt Creek in Coorong National Park just before 6.30pm.

"One of the victims was able to run away and came across some people fishing in the area," said police Superintendent James Blandford.

"They were able to comfort and secure her and make a call to the police.

"Given the nature of the charges, their [the alleged victims] situation was obviously very dire and they were somewhat distressed," he said.

Owner of the local Salt Creek Roadhouse Adam Stewart described a frantic phone call he received from the anglers to Seven News.


"We took a pretty panicked phone call from some fishermen off the beach. They'd just come across an injured woman who'd come running out of the sandhills. A young girl, a backpacker " he said.

Police were called and searched the area, "ably assisted" by members of the public, Superintendent Blandford said.

They found and arrested a 59-year-old man from Adelaide, about two hours north-east from the site of the alleged attempted kidnapping.

It is unclear if the second victim was located with the man. 

'The details I can't go into because it's still a very fresh investigation and there are still a number of inquiries and witnesses that we need to tie down a story," Superintendent Blandford said. 

The foreign backpackers, whose nationality is not known, told police that they had only met the man the previous day.

The women were on their way from Adelaide to Victoria with the man, understood to be a drifter, and stopped at Salt Creek to spend the night.

The man reportedly turned on the young women, allegedly holding them captive and sexually assaulting them before trying to kill them.

"They effectively found themselves in a situation that has turned out to be scary and physically bad for them," Superintendent Blandford said.

He described the terrain as "difficult and harsh", adding communication in the area was "challenging", and vehicles often became bogged.

The two women were taken to Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide where they are in a stable condition.

The man has been charged with attempted murder and kidnapping. 

He was remanded in custody after appearing in Adelaide Magistrate's Court via video link wearing a white hospital gown and chains on Wednesday afternoon.

Major crime detectives from Murray Bridge are investigating. 

"Inquiries are still very fresh and ongoing, and we will look at every angle and opportunity to see if there are any ongoing or other investigations we should be looking at," Superintendent Blandford said.

He warned the public to be vigilant when meeting strangers, urging individuals to use "protective strategies... particularly around people you've only just met".  

"Unfortunately there are a small minority of people who do prey on innocent people going about their business," he said.