Saturday, May 7, 2011

Woman Survives For 49 Days In US Wilderness On Snow, Trail Mix

Always Be Prepared!

Keith Brock

Updated: Saturday, 07 May 2011, 11:16 PM EDT

Published : Saturday, 07 May 2011, 11:16 PM EDT
TWIN FALLS, Idaho - The survival of a Canadian woman for 49 days in the wilderness in northern Nevada has amazed experts, The Oregonian reported Saturday.
Rita Chretien, 56, was found by hunters about 4:00pm Friday -- seven weeks after she and her husband Albert went missing on a road trip to the US from their home in British Columbia, Canada.
The couple's 2000 Chevrolet Astro had become stuck on a logging road in a remote area of Elko County, Nevada, near the Idaho border. Her husband was still missing Saturday.
Chretien, who was in a fair condition at a Twin Falls, Idaho, hospital, told her son Raymond Chretien that she had rationed trail mix and survived mainly on snow.
She reportedly lost about 30 pounds (13.6kg) during her ordeal and told her son she did not think she would have lived for more than another two or three days.
A spokesperson for St Lukes Hospital said the "doctors are very confident about a full recovery at this point."
Brian Wheeler, who is the founder of a company that teaches survival classes in the area, said he was "blown away" by her survival in the remote high-desert area where the van was found.
"She did a lot of things right -- enough things right -- she stayed with the vehicle, she stayed hydrated, rationing whatever food she did have and she didn't panic," he said.
Chretien told authorities that her 59-year-old husband left the van on March 22 -- three days after the couple was last seen at a Baker City, Ore., convenience store -- to seek help.
Luke Allen of the Twin Falls Police Department said Rita told authorities they made a wrong turn while they were taking a scenic route on some Nevada back roads.
"They kept getting stuck. For two days they were getting stuck and unstuck in their vehicle over and over again until eventually the husband said, 'I'm going to go out and look for help,'" Allen said.
Ground teams began a fresh search for Albert Chretien Saturday, but inclement weather hampered efforts to look for him from the air.
Beth Dickinson Chretien, the couple's daughter-in-law, posted on a Facebook site about the couple's disappearance that "she's weak, but otherwise doing well considering what she's been through."
The couple, who own an excavation business in Penticton, British Columbia, left Canada through Oroville, Wash., early on the morning of March 19 to attend an equipment trade show and convention in Las Vegas.
The two were last seen in surveillance footage paying for gas and snack foods in Baker City that afternoon, then seemed to simply vanish.
The couple's children contacted police when they failed to return home by March 30, as planned.
The family commissioned an aerial survey of the area but could not find any trace of the two. 

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