The Turkish army rescued three young tourists from a mountainside in Antalya on Monday (January 19), who had been missing for eight nights.

British citizen David James Alan Mackie, and two Dutch nationals, Marje De Groot and Friso Anne Antony De Vries, had gone for a hike that was only supposed to last a day but they became lost in bad weather and became stranded on the mountainside.

They were rescued after Mackie managed to use his mobile phone to call the emergency services and they were air-lifted from the mountainside by the Turkish army after living off insects and sleeping in a cave to survive.

All three tourists, who are exchange students in Istanbul, were relieved to be rescued and said they had only started the hike with enough food for one day.

"We only have food for the first day. And it was eight days," said De Vries on Tuesday (January 20).

"Even in our first day we did not have full food. We only have snacks for the lunch really. Not even for a full day," added Mackie.

The students waved their t-shirts at the helicopter to gain their attention and said they were initially fearful they would not be seen on the vast mountainside.

"I think when we saw them it took a few times when they saw us. It became increasingly hard just to wave your arm as we were so tired. But when they saw us, we were really really happy," said De Vries.

The three students will return to their home countries after staying a couple of days in Istanbul.