Rescuers tell of search for 76-year-old woman

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Doris Anderson found alive after 2 weeks missing in rugged Ore. mountains

Updated: 2 hours, 33 minutes ago

BAKER CITY, Ore. - Two weeks after Doris Anderson disappeared while hunting with her husband, the 76-year-old lay next to a creek surrounded by thick brush, alone and with no food or supplies.

Rescue teams had been through the mountainous area but found no sign of her. Knowing that she was only lightly clothed in temperatures that had dipped into the 30s at night, they had scaled back the search nearly a week earlier.

But they hadn’t given up.

On Thursday, a day after a sheriff’s deputy asked Anderson’s husband once again how the couple had become separated in the woods, the deputy and others returned to an area they had checked before and found her, alive, alert and in surprisingly good condition.

“We just asked her if she was hurt and talked to her about her family,†Trooper Chris Hawkins said Friday as Anderson recovered in a hospital from dehydration and a hip injury.

The rescuers were so focused on her well-being that they didn’t ask her how she had survived. A helicopter team plucked her from the rugged terrain.

Anderson was on a bow hunting trip Aug. 24 with her 74-year-old husband, Harold, when their sport utility vehicle, pulling a utility trailer, got stuck.

Harold Anderson also broke his wrist unloading an all-terrain vehicle from the trailer.

I thought I’d never see her again’

The couple tried to walk to a U.S. Forest Service road for help but became exhausted. Harold Anderson said his wife headed back to the vehicle. A hunting party later found a disoriented Harold Anderson, but there was no sign of his wife.

“I thought I’d never see her again until the rapture,†he said.

About 70 volunteers a day had combed the mountain in eastern Oregon until the search was scaled back in late August.

“I’d given up hope that she could’ve lived the first three days,†said her brother-in-law, Melvin Anderson. “But my wife always said, ’No, she’s alive.’ And my wife was right.

Iris Anderson, 71, Melvin Anderson’s wife, said prayer and her sister-in-law’s healthy lifestyle must have sustained her.

“How she managed to live for two weeks at the bottom of canyon, I don’t know,†she said.

Rescuers tell of search for 76-year-old - U.S. Life - MSNBC.com

 

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