An Arizona woman and her dog stranded in the state’s White Mountains for nine days were rescued thanks to her resourcefulness.
Ann Rodgers, 72, spelled out the word “HELP” on a canyon floor, NBC News reported. Rescue workers in a helicopter spotted the message on Saturday, nine days after she was reported missing on March 31, according to Reuters. Shortly thereafter, rescuers found Rodgers in the same area, standing near a signal fire. She also left a handwritten note under one of the rocks explaining her predicament.
Rodgers had been driving from Tucson to Phoenix to visit her grandchildren, but got lost and ran out of gas. She became even more lost — and separated from her car — after climbing several ridges in an attempt to get cell phone service.
“The probabilities of finding her alive were really low,” Gila County Sheriff’s Detective Johnny Holmes told The Guardian. “It’s a miracle on its own that she’s still here given she was out there that many days.”
But when asked by an NBC 12 reporter whether she felt like a miracle, Rodgers responded, “No, what I feel like is a survivor.”
Rodgers and her dog survived by drinking pond water and eating plants she knew were safe to consume. Rescue workers transported her to a hospital, and she was released in only a few hours.
Her rescue is bizarrely reminiscent of a story from last week of three Micronesian men stranded on an uninhabited island who were rescued after spelling out “HELP” in palm fronds.