We love a good survival story. We especially love good survival stories that feature children or pets. And we particularly enjoy good survival stories that demonstrate how important it is for even young children to learn basic survival skills. In this case, the local police speculated that the survival of the two young girls central to the adventure may well have been helped by them already having some survival training from attending a 4H club (a U.S youth organisation).
Only this week, several international news organisations reported that two missing Californian sisters, Leia and Caroline Carrico, aged 8 and 5 respectively, had been found safe and sound 44 hours after going missing in the huge area of difficult terrain covered in woodland that surrounds their home in Humboldt County.
On Friday afternoon, the two girls asked their mother if they could go for a walk in the woods. Their mother had said no, but then shortly after, she realised they were missing. After family and friends conducted a brief search around their home, she raised the alarm with the emergency services.
The critical 24 hours
As all emergency responders know, the first 24 hours are usually the most critical when trying to find young children, so the search continued unabated throughout the night on Friday into Saturday, with helicopters, tracking dogs and volunteers on foot all joining the effort. As well as having a tough environment to traverse and search, the conditions were rainy and cold, with temperatures around 7 to 9o C.
Searching for signs
Searchers on Saturday discovered freshly discarded granola bar wrappers in different places, a brand that their mum confirmed she had recently purchased, which gave the team an indication of the direction the girls had taken. They were then able to pick up their boot prints. Eventually at 10:30 am on Sunday, the sisters were discovered 1.4 miles south from their home, dehydrated, cold and had lost their voices from shouting for help but otherwise they were healthy and in good spirits.
Benefits of being prepared
Leia and Caroline had left the house wearing sturdy boots as well as taking food with them in the form of the granola bars. The sisters explained to first responders that they had got lost while trying to follow a deer track so they had taken shelter in a huckleberry bush, drinking water from the leaves and trying to shout for help.
In total, the official search had lasted 44 hours, a long time for most people but especially for such young children. We can only imagine their parent’s immense relief and hope that the little sisters have learnt to listen to their mum…
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