A heroic five-year-old girl assured her siblings they’d be safe with their grandmother as they waited two days alone in the Australian Outback to be rescued after their parents died in a horror Christmas Day car crash.
Jake Day, 28, and Cindy Braddock, 25, died when their Land Rover Discover rolled over on an isolated road in the West Australian town of Kondinin, 279km east of Perth.
Their three young children all survived the crash, but were stranded for 55 hours until the wreckage was eventually found about midday on December 27.
Relatives say it was a ‘miracle’ the children survived at all, and credit the little girl for saving her younger brother’s life.
While trapped inside the overturned Land Rover Discovery in 30 degree heat, the child managed to unclip her one-year-old brother from his car seat.
According to family, she told her siblings: ‘Nanny is going to look after us now.’
Australians have opened their hearts to the three children of Jake Day (pictured left) and Cindy Braddock (pictured right) with over $70,000 raised to help the three orphans after a fatal car crash killed the two adults
The three children – aged five, two and one – were pulled from the family’s overturned Land Rover Discovery on Tuesday afternoon, two and a half days after the accident
The children laid against the inside of the roof of the overturned car until help arrived.
Kailee Wallace, a close friend of Ms Braddock and partner of Mr Day’s cousin Michael Read, told the West Australian there was ‘no real theory as to how they survived other than a miracle’.
‘When they found [the five-year-old], she made a comment that “Nanny is going to look after us now”,’ Ms Wallace said.
‘She’s incredible, her brother would not be here if it wasn’t for her and she loves her Nanny.’
Mr Day’s cousin, Michael Read, said a distraught relative was first to arrive on the scene of the horror crash.
Initially, the relative believed all five family members had died until they heard the young girl’s cries from inside the vehicle.
The two-year-old remained trapped in his car seat, clinging onto his sister’s foot for comfort as they waited for help to arrive.
The family had left Northam, WA, at about 1am on Sunday and were heading home to Kondinin, some 200km away before the tragic accident
Cindy Braddock, 25, and Jake Day, 28, were killed when their their Land Rover Discovery left a remote WA highway and flipped, leaving behind their three children, all aged under five
The circumstances surrounding the crash remain unclear, but Mr Read told ABC News: ‘Know what your body limit is, don’t drive tired.’
The family were travelling through the rural towns about 1am to make it to Mr Day’s mother’s home in time for Christmas Day.
Mr Read said an unknown trucker arrived at the scene a short time after his relative did, and stayed with them to comfort them and offer extra support.
‘It really meant a lot not just to myself but the entire family,’ he said.
The children will likely now live at a Kondinin farmhouse with their grandmother, Annette Day, a local hospital orderly.
The five-year-old girl was hailed as a hero after she unbuckled her one year old brother freeing him from his seat after the family’s Land Rover flipped and crashed near Kondinin, east of Perth
They were initially taken to Perth Children’s Hospital via helicopter suffering severe dehydration but have since been cleared of any serious injuries and have been showered with gifts in hospital from adoring family and friends.
Ms Wallace said the heroic little girl had been helping nurses at the hospital check over her younger brothers and has hinted she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up.
‘She’s so smart,’ Ms Wallace said. ‘She’s been in kindy, but we’ve been told she’s been doing maths with the Year 2 kids. She’s a special little girl.’
A GoFundMe appeal has so far raised $AUD92,268 for the surviving children.
HOW THE CRASH UNFOLDED
1am Sunday: Cindy Braddock, 25, Jake Day, 28, and their three children were driving 200km from Northam to Kondinin
The family were driving to Kondinin to spend Christmas with Mr Day’s mother
Just 10km away from Kondinin, the family crashed their maroon Land Rover
3pm Monday: Relatives reported the family missing
Just before 12pm on Tuesday: The family’s car is found by a relative 10km away from Kondinin on Corrigin-Kondinin Road
Both parents were found dead while their children, a five-year-old girl, two-year-old boy and a one-year-old boy survived