AN EASTBOURNE couple have told how they helped rescue their relatives who were stranded 5,000 miles away in the Amazon jungle this week.
Jenny Simpson and Ken Nutting received an SOS phone call at their Willingdon home on Tuesday night from Jenny’s sister Lesley Norris and her partner Bruce Scott, who were left stranded for two days in remote north east Brazil when their motorhome plunged down a ravine.
Mr Scott and Ms Norris used a satellite phone to make the call to Eastbourne and after jotting down the couple’s map coordinates, Ken rang the coastguard to raise the alarm.
Dover Coastguard passed it on to its operation room in Falmouth which then alerted the Brazilian authorities and a military helicopter was scrambled to rescue the couple.
Ken and Jenny, who have found themselves at the centre of a national and international media frenzy after the SOS call, spent an anxious night waiting for news that the couple had been plucked to safety.
Speaking to the Herald yesterday (Thursday), Jenny said, “We are just relieved Bruce and Les are both okay.
“We are used to them being away off travelling and they have had some scrapes before, but nothing like this.”
Jenny said she was out on Tuesday evening visiting her and Ms Norris’ mother when the call came through.
“Ken took the call at around 6.30pm,” she said. “Bruce said there had been an accident and their motorhome had fallen down a ravine when the bridge crumbled away underneath them.
“Bruce gave Ken the satellite coordinates and asked him to get them some assistance.
“Luckily Ken is very calm and just phoned the coastguards who took over from there.”
Ken said, “The coastguards were brilliant and kept us informed of everything that was happening.
“The Brazilian authorities sent a helicopter to get them and Lesley was very relieved when the help arrived.”
Jenny said although Bruce and Lesley, who are from London, were unhurt in the accident, they were frightened at being stranded 200 miles from the nearest community and hadn’t seen anyone else for two days before their dramatic rescue.
Jenny said, “They feel lucky to be alive. They are both very shaken up but unhurt.
“When they fell into the ravine Bruce helped Lesley to climb out and then went back down and got a couple of chairs so they could sit on the roadside.
“He went back down and got some tarpaulin and they slept on the road, hoping to be rescued.
“It was such a remote spot it was unlikely anyone would be passing so they called me.
“It could have been much worse, they could have been badly injured so I am relieved they called.”