California Couple Who Went Missing For Eight Days Found By Hero Dog Named Groot
A couple who went missing on Valentine’s Day in northern California were found alive after eight days in what rescuers have hailed a ‘miracle’.
Carol Kiparsky, 77, and Ian Irwin, 72, were found with the help of a hero dog named Groot at around 10am on Saturday morning, February 22, in ‘very dense drainage [ditch] that was overgrown with foliage’ near Tomales Bay, around 30 miles north of San Francisco.
The couple, from Palo Alto, were renting an Airbnb near Inverness over Valentine’s Day. However, concerns were raised when they failed to check out the next day and didn’t show up for an appointment on February 16.
When housekeepers went to clean the cottage for the next guests, they discovered the couple’s phones and wallets, as well as their car parked outside.
Marin County Sheriff’s Sergeant Brenton Schneider said, via Fox News:
[They] left for a hike on Valentine’s, got lost at dark, and don’t know what happened.
The couple were said to be unprepared for their long hike, wearing lightweight clothing and taking no food as temperatures dropped dramatically through the night.
The reason they were most likely alive was because they were drinking from a puddle that they found near where they were located.
It’s believed the pair had fallen at some point, and Kiparsky had attempted to get help on her own after tying parts of her scarf to branches so she would know how to get back to her partner.
‘They thought this was the end for them,’ Schneider added.
A team made up of sheriff officials and volunteers combed the woods and waters in the area for days on end, with the help of drones, divers and boats equipped with radar and sonar.
On Thursday, February 20, they believed all potential leads had been exhausted, and the search shifted to a ‘recovery mission’ following four different alerts from cadaver dogs around Shell Beach, around two miles from the cottage.
In a press release, the sheriff’s office said at the time:
We believe that our extensive search efforts with every resource that has been available to us would have located Carol and Ian if they were responsive or in an area accessible by foot on land.
However, the area they searched on Saturday, February 22, was a new location that at first had been deemed an implausible place to find the couple.
It doesn’t seem they would have made it much farther because of how dense the vegetation is.
But it was here that search and rescue volunteers Quincy Webster and Rich Cassens – and their three-year-old search and rescue dog, Groot – discovered the missing pair.
At a news conference, Webster said:
We were breaking through the bushes. It took a long time to move a short distance.
The rescuers said they heard someone shouting for help, before coming across Irwin and Kiparsky, who said they were ‘very cold’.
When they were found, they were very appreciative. Ian started singing when the helicopter arrived on scene.
The couple were airlifted to hospital where they were treated for hypothermia, but are now said to be doing well.
Here’s to wishing them a speedy recovery. Groot, you are our hero.
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