Student's nine-day snow car ordeal
Published 22/12/2011 | 17:17
A US university student has survived for nine days on just two chocolate bars while her car was stuck in the snow in a remote area of Arizona.
In neighbouring New Mexico, a family found themselves struggling to breathe after nearly two days in their SUV, which was buried in a snowdrift on a rural road.
The freezing ordeals ended with separate rescues. Authorities said all were recovering after being taken to hospitals.
Lauren Weinberg, 23, was seen leaving her mother's home December 11.
Coconino County sheriff's spokesman Gerry Blair said she was driving around with no specific destination when she came to a dirt road near a line of cliffs that divides the state's high country from the desert. Her car became stuck after she stopped to try to open a gate.
Weinberg said she put snow in a water bottle and placed it on the car so it would melt. She did not have a heavy coat or blankets. She had a mobile phone but the battery was dead.
Two US Forest Service employees on snowmobiles found her nine days later 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 Centre. "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."
In New Mexico, rescuers had to dig through 4 feet of ice and snow to free the Higgins family, whose SUV got stuck on a road when a blizzard moved through the area on Monday, state police said.
Rescuers found David and Yvonne Higgins and their five-year-old daughter, Hannah, clinging to each other early on Wednesday. The family is recovering at a local hospital.