Arizona Student Rescued; Stranded in Snow Stuck in Vehicle for Over a Week

Other than being cold, hungry and thirsty, Weinberg was in good condition.


 
 

FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press | | Thursday, December 22, 2011


PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona State University student packed a water bottle with snow and let it melt under the sun for drinking water while she was stranded for more than a week, authorities said Wednesday after the 23-year-old was discovered in a remote area of east-central Arizona.

Lauren Weinberg was last seen leaving her mother's home in south Phoenix on Dec. 11 and told authorities she became stuck in the snow a day later, Coconino County sheriff's spokesman Gerry Blair. Two U.S. Forest Service employees on snowmobiles found her Wednesday about 45 miles southeast of Winslow while they were checking if gates on forest roads were closed.

"I am so thankful to be alive and warm," Weinberg said through a spokeswoman at the Flagstaff Medical Center, where she was taken. "Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers, because they worked. There were times I was afraid but mostly I had faith I would be found."

Other than being cold, hungry and thirsty, Weinberg was in good condition, lucid and speaking coherently, Blair said.

The undergraduate student was driving around with no specific destination, Blair said, when she drove south from Winslow toward the Mogollon Rim — a prominent line of cliffs that divides the state's high country from the desert.

The paved road turned into a dirt road. Weinberg stopped her vehicle at a fence line and when she attempted to move a gate she found that it was stuck in the snow, according to Blair. Soon, her car was stuck as well.

Weinberg had two candy bars with her and told a sheriff's deputy that she put snow in a water bottle and placed it atop the sedan she was driving so it would melt, Blair said. She wasn't prepared for the winter conditions and did not have a heavy coat or blankets, Blair said.

Weather forecasters and authorities said her survival was remarkable, given the more than 2 feet of snow in the area and temperatures that dipped to near zero some of the nights. Blair said Weinberg had a cellphone but the battery was dead.

"It's pretty harrowing that she'd been there since the 12th in an area that's totally foreign to her," he said. "We're certainly very happy that we found her, and we found her alive."

A strong winter storm hit the area the day Weinberg became stranded and hung around for two more days, followed by even colder temperatures, said Chris Outler of the National Weather Service in Flagstaff. Daytime temperatures in the town of Heber, about 20 miles to the northeast, were in the mid- to low-30s over the past 10 days.

Phoenix police told local TV station KTVK that Weinberg had purchased items at convenience stores in Chandler, Superior and Show Low on Dec. 11 and in Holbrook the following day, but there was no other sign of her since then.

Weinberg, who is studying supply chain management, missed her final examinations at school, and her family was concerned because her behavior was out of the ordinary, police told the station.

Weinberg disappeared less than a week after an elderly New Mexico couple took a wrong turn and got stranded on a remote forest road in eastern Arizona. They survived two winter storms over five days before the woman collapsed and died as they tried to hike to safety.

"She's very lucky," Outler said of Weinberg.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, snow

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Four Killed in New Mexico Medical Plane Crash

Crash near fairgrounds claims patient and crew of three.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Ambulance Involved in Crash

Odessa ambulance and car collide during response.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Las Vegas Fire, AMR Reach New Deal

Tentative agreement reached over ambulance calls.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Fire Damages Several Homes in California Earthquake

Four homes destroyed and others damaged after quake rattles Napa.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Mexico Air Ambulance Crash

NTSB investigates crash that killed four.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.? Scranton

JEMS Editor-in-Chief visits his hometown of Scranton, Pa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Over 100 Injured in California Earthquake

172 patients treated at Napa hospital after 6.0-magnitude earthquake.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >