A 72-year-old woman who got lost in the Arizona wilderness was rescued nine days after she was reported missing when rescuers spotted a "help" message she had written on the ground with sticks.
Ann Rodgers, along with her dog, was driving to visit her grandkids in Phoenix when she ran out of gas and became stranded near the White River Indian Reservation on March 31. It was not clear where Rodgers started her journey, but the Gila County Sheriff's Office said she is originally from the Tucson area.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety said in a news release that Rodgers attempted to climb several ridge lines to reach a place with cell phone reception, but was unable to call for help.
Rodgers and her dog survived the next nine days by drinking pond water and eating plants.
Rescue officials discovered Rodgers' car abandoned on the side of the road on April 3, but after a two-day search were unable to find her.
On April 9, a White Mountain Apache Tribe Game and Fish officer saw Rodgers' dog as it ran out of the Canyon Creek area. Rescuers were again deployed to search for Rodgers and found her later that day after an aerial search spotted a "help" sign written out of sticks and rocks.
Underneath a rock used to spell out "help," rescuers discovered a note written on April 3 by Rodgers saying she was out of water and food and was heading down the canyon.
In the canyon, searchers located a makeshift shelter built by Rodgers. After rounding a bend in the canyon, they found Rodgers standing next to a signal fire and waving.
Officials said that Rodgers was suffering from exposure but was in fair condition. She was transported from the rescue area to the hospital by helicopter and has since been reunited with her family.
Rodgers' rescue comes just days after three men who were stranded on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean were saved after writing the word "help" in the sand with palm fronds.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at email@example.com.
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