A woman was rescued by Death Valley National Park and California law enforcement last week after she was stranded overnight in frigid temperatures at the popular tourist destination.
Death Valley park rangers and California Highway Patrol rescued the 27-year-old woman in the park’s remote backcountry on Jan. 23, after she was stranded overnight in winter conditions after her vehicle became stuck in snow.
On Jan. 22, the woman, who hails from New York, had been traveling in a rental SUV when she encountered deep snow on Hunter Mountain Road, a gravel road in the northwest part of the park, park officials said.
At approximately 3 p.m., she decided to turn around and head back to the main road, but her vehicle became stuck in the snow.
The woman was prepared, as she had extra food, water, camping gear, and warm clothing with her and she spent the night in her car.
The next morning, she hiked up the mountain several hours in the snow to get to an area with cell phone service. Once she got a signal, the woman called 911 and provided valuable information about her situation to dispatchers before the call was dropped.
On the afternoon of Jan. 23, Death Valley officials received a report, transferred from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, of a woman who was stranded and lost somewhere in the park’s Hunter Mountain area. A park ranger was unable to reach the woman by vehicle due to deep snow and muddy conditions.
A helicopter from the California Highway Patrol was dispatched and they were able to locate the woman’s vehicle before sunset. The helicopter landed on the roadway and picked the woman up and she was transported to Furnace Creek Airport where she was evaluated by National Park Service emergency medical personnel.
The woman’s preparedness with the items she had with her in her car and her quick thinking in the morning to search out cell phone reception likely saved her life, according to Kevin Ross, emergency services coordinator for Death Valley National Park.
“The supplies the woman had with her in the vehicle helped her survive,” Ross said. “In addition, aside from hiking to call 911, she stayed with her vehicle.”
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