PHOENIX, April 13 (UPI) — Search crews rescued a 72-year-old woman and her dog after the two survived nine days lost in the Arizona desert.
They were found after the woman made a large “help” sign on the ground with sticks and rocks.
Ann Rodgers and her dog survived on pond water and plants, state officials said. She went missing March 31 on her way from Tucson to visit her grandchildren in Phoenix. A multi-agency search was launched and a helicopter crew spotted the word “help.
She was suffering from exposure, but was in fair condition and able to board the helicopter on her own. Rodgers was treated and released from the hospital on Saturday, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office said.
“The probabilities of finding her alive were really low,” said Gila County sheriff’s Detective Johnny Holmes, who coordinated the search and rescue, which took place on Saturday. “It’s a miracle on its own that she’s still here given she was out there that many days.”
Rodgers ran out of gas and charge in her hybrid car, then got lost as she went to look for a cell phone signal. For more than a week, the woman and her dog were stuck on a backcountry road.
Rodgers told a White Mountain Apache Tribe Game and Fish officer officer she survived by eating berries and plants, and getting clean water from a creek.