PLACER COUNTY, Calif. — A Placer County woman is lucky to be alive after spending nearly 24 hours lost in the snow in the Gold Run area. If it wasn’t for her SPOT satellite messenger device, the woman might not have made it out alive.
It all happened on Feb. 12 when authorities say the woman, who asked not to be identified, planned on going for a short hike, but the snowy conditions caused her to lose her path.
“She apparently had some clothing, but not enough to deal with the conditions that we were dealing with overnight,” said Placer County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ty Conners.
But the 60-something woman would be stuck out in the elements overnight. Her SPOT device was only equipped with two functions — an “SOS” function and an “I’m OK” function. Rescuers credit her decision making, once she knew she was lost, with saving her life.
“She made a really good decision [in] that, once she pushed the SOS button, she stayed still," Conners said. "She didn't move. It's harder to find a moving target."
When search and rescue volunteers found the woman they say she was soaking wet and was unable to speak because of how cold she was.
“She was found underneath a manzanita bush hiding,” said Conners. “When our searchers got out there they said she was very immobile, she couldn't talk, had a hard time speaking for the fact that she was really cold.”
The woman was hospitalized for hypothermia and frostbite. Fortunately, rescuers had hot chocolate and dry clothes to give her. Authorities say she is expected to make a full recovery.
Conners told ABC10 that what happened to the woman could even happen to those who are experienced. He stressed if you are planning to go out on a hike, even if it isn’t in inclement weather, to always be extremely prepared for the worst.
Conners said people should dress accordingly and dress for the unknown when you are going to a remote area. He also said to carry some sort of a map, compass or a GPS device to help you in case you lose your way.
“One thing we least recommend to people is to not hike by yourself. I know there are a lot of extreme hikers that like to go by themselves, but if you do, be prepared.”
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