Authorities are calling one college student’s survival a holiday miracle. Two days before Christmas, Lauren Weinberg was released from the hospital after being stranded in her car for nine days with only two candy bars to eat and no heavy coat, blanket or gloves to keep her warm.
Police said the 23-year-old Arizona State student drove to the desolate mountain area of Arizona during finals week and became trapped under two feet of snow.
“You can say survival skills or a miracle, either way,” said Phoenix police Officer James Holmes. “But the good thing is she’s home and safe.”
The rescue team that found her said that temperatures plummeted to near zero and that she used one of the car’s floor mats to keep her warm.
Weinberg’s car, which still had gas in the tank, was stranded less than a mile from a ranch. Weinberg said that her car could not be seen from the ranch. The area where she was found did have cellular service, but she said that her phone wasn’t working. The rescue team found her 45 miles southeast of Winslow.
Authorities said that Weinberg was driving with no particular destination in mind. She came across a paved road that turned into a dirt road and stopped her vehicle so she could push a gate from out of her way. She then became stuck in the snow.
When the rescue team found her, Weinberg used one of the rescuers’ cell phones to call her parents. Forrest service worker, Bob McDonald, gave her his fleece and a packaged lunch. Authorities said that, other than being cold, she was in good condition and coherent.
“I could not even begin to predict how she could (survive), but I have no reason not to believe her story,” said McDonald. “As a parent myself, missing a child for nine days and not knowing where they are, it was extremely fortunate.”
Via The Associated Press