This is truly an amazing story of survival. This comes from a Sequoia National Park press release issued yesterday:
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks' staff had to initiate a search-and-rescue for a woman who had been pulled from the creek at the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park on Tuesday.
A 52-year-old Squaw Valley, CA woman left the Farewell Gap Trailhead on a solo day hike to train for an ultra-marathon. She hiked up Farewell Canyon and crossed Franklin Creek on a snow bridge. On her way back to the trailhead, the snow bridge collapsed underneath her, and she fell into the creek. The woman was swept downstream under the snow for 30-40 feet, where she found a spot to stop herself. She stood up in the creek under the snow with no access to the surface. Using her hands, she dug through approximately 5 feet of snow and created a small hole at the surface. She then threw her backpack out of the hole where it was seen by another party who went to examine it and found the woman under the snow nearby. The woman was hypothermic and incoherent when the second party pulled her out of the creek, as she had been trapped in the creek under snow for over 3 hours. One member of the party went back to the trailhead for help. The remainder of the party provided assistance in warming the woman.
Upon notification of the incident, the park helicopter (with a medic), and a ranger on foot were dispatched to the scene. When rangers arrived, the woman declined evacuation or medical assistance. She was assisted to the trailhead by a ranger.
This woman is extremely lucky. I'm glad she made it out alright. It's also pretty amazing she didn't need any medical assistance. It wouldn't surprise me if this story becomes an episode on "I Shouldn't Be Alive" someday.