A woman has told how she and three travellers survived on peanuts and raw fish after becoming stranded for five days in the Mexican jungle.
Rachel Bradley’s group lost their gear when a canoe capsized in the Candelaria river, in the Yucatan Peninsula.
The group, which included the 31-year-old from Stockton-on-Tees and fellow Briton Mike Burgess, 52, of Plymouth, got lost in a “labyrinth of swamps”.
They were forced to stay in a tree for much of the time for safety.
A team of local rescuers eventually found the group, which also included a 42-year-old man from Gibraltar and a 24-year-old man from Mexico.
They lost their clothes, food and communication equipment when one of their two canoes capsized on 17 October.
The were exploring the area for environmental consultancy Ninth Wave Global.
Ms Bradley said the team became lost in a combination of unexpected rapids and a “labyrinth” of swamps and waterfalls created by heavy rainfall.
She said: “The water just kept flowing faster and faster, and by that point we realised it was too late to go back.
“We abandoned our second boat to try and exit the jungle on foot. But it quickly became obvious the safest option was to stop walking and wait for help to arrive.
“Having lost most of our possessions in the river, we had to drink river water and ate raw fish caught in a mosquito net.
“We stayed in this tree and explored a few different exit routes, walking to the other side of the palm field and swimming up and down stream.
“However, the best thing was to stay put. We had a safe place to sleep and a clear area if anything came overhead.
“We had a bag of M&M’s which we shared on the first evening and then we rationed a bag of caramelised peanuts I had – five each per sitting.
“By day three, my colleagues had started testing a local fruit they recognised and had caught some small fish using my mosquito net.
“They cut the heads off and swallowed them whole.”
After the party failed to return on time, officials at Ninth Wave raised the alarm.
A spokesman for the Hertfordshire-based organisation said: “Rachel and the others were found by a local search team who helped them get out of the jungle to food, clean water and a bed for the night.”
Ms Bradley, who suffered some injuries to her legs, has already undertaken another trip to Mexico’s Usumacinta River.”