The Korea Herald


US woman stranded by snow 9 days in her car


Published : Dec. 25, 2011 - 11:14

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FLAGSTAFF, Arizona (AP) -- A U.S. university student said she had nothing to eat but two candy bars while her car was stuck in the snow for nine days in a remote area of Arizona. In neighboring 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 highway.

The frigid ordeals ended with separate rescues Wednesday. Authorities said all were recovering after being taken to hospitals.

The 23-year-old Lauren Weinberg was seen leaving her mother's home Dec. 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 told a sheriff's deputy she put snow in a water bottle and placed it on the car so it would melt, Blair said. She did not have a heavy coat or blankets. She had a cellphone but the battery was dead.

Two U.S. 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 Center. ``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.''

Other than being cold, hungry and thirsty, Weinberg was in good condition, lucid and speaking coherently, Blair said.

Weather forecasters and authorities said her survival was remarkable, given that temperatures dipped below freezing.

In New Mexico, rescuers had to dig through 4 feet (1.2 meters) of ice and snow to free the Higgins family, whose SUV got stuck on a highway when a blizzard moved through the area Monday, state police said.

Rescuers found David and Yvonne Higgins and their 5-year-old daughter, Hannah, clinging to each other early Wednesday. The family was recovering at a local hospital.

David Higgins told The Associated Press he and his wife both have pneumonia but his daughter is fine.

The family left their home on Sunday for a ski trip but visibility eventually dropped to zero in falling snow.

``It was white. You couldn't even see the yellow line,'' David said.

The snow stopped the family in their tracks. David Higgins was able to keep the car running for a couple of hours, but when he wanted to clear the exhaust pipe, his door was blocked.

``By 9 or 10 Monday night, I realized there was solid snow outside my window,'' he said. ``I pushed as hard as I could.''

The Higginses had plenty of water to drink, plus sandwiches and chips. But as the hours passed, it seems as if they were working harder to breathe inside the buried SUV.

``We weren't sure of it, but we think we were running out of air. That was spooky,'' he said.

Higgins was able to reach his brother in Texas by cellphone and the distress call was relayed to state police, which launched a search Tuesday evening.

``They pulled us up and out of it,'' Higgins said. ``The rescuer took pictures and it looked like a rabbit hole. We were 3 to 4 feet above the vehicle.''


눈 속에 갇힌 여성, 사탕 2개로 9일간 생존

미국의 한 여대생이 눈 덮인 자동차 안에 9일 동안 갇혀 있다가 기적적으로 구조됐다.

애리조나 주립대학의 로렌 엘리자베스 웨인버그(23)는 애리조나 윈슬로에서 남동쪽으로 72㎞ 떨어진 숲 속에서 고립되어 막대사탕 2개로 9일을 버티다가 산림청 직원들에 의해 구조되었다.

웨인버그 타고 있던 도요타 코롤라가 지난 12일 비포장 도로에서 흘러내린 눈에 뒤덮였다.

웨인버그는 차 안으로 흘러 들어온 눈과 막대사탕으로 생명을 유지했고 발견 당시 추위에 지치고 허기진 상태였지만 건강에는 심각한 이상이 없었다.

웨인버그는 "공포를 느낀 때도 있었지만 대부분의 시간 동안 구조될 것이라는 긍정적인 생각을 했다"고 말했다.