Thursday, February 16, 2012

Couple Survives Three Days in Snow on Cookies and Peanuts

A California couple missing since Monday was found Wednesday afternoon in their car, which had gotten stuck in snow, reports.

Mark Schroeder and Janette DeGrace of Sacramento were out sightseeing in Placer County, Calif., when they traveled down a remote road that had not been plowed and their car got stuck in snow.

A friend says Schroeder hiked about 6 miles in 2-foot deep snow to find cellphone reception, with his cellphone almost dead and no charger.

Miraculously, he was able to get to high enough ground to call 911. The couple was rescued soon after.

The couple survived by turning on their car every 30 minutes for warmth. They rationed out peanuts and Girl Scout cookies and melted snow for drinking water.

Searchers say it was difficult to find the couple because they were searching in the wrong area. The couple did not tell friends or family where they were going.

Schroeder is being treated for minor frostbite. DeGrace has a medical condition that, rescuers say, would have killed her if they stayed stuck a day longer.
A few things right, but a lot of things wrong.

First, the wrong. Overconfidence. What made them think that they could drive their car on a snow-covered road (apparently, there was 2 feet of snow)?

Lack of planning and preparation. They didn't tell anyone where they were going, and they hadn't packed extra food or water or medicine. They were traveling without a cell charger. Given that one of them suffered from frost bite, I would guess that they didn't have adequate clothing either.

What did they do right? Well, they intelligently used their car heater and food resources to stretch out what few resources they had. And they took the initiative to try and get help. It's always risky to leave a vehicle, and it's a judgment call that sometimes doesn't work out. In this case, however, given that no-one knew where they were, it was the right call.

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