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Family lost in Paradise

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PARADISE, Calif. (AP) - A series of storms is hindering efforts to find a young family missing in wooded Northern California mountains where more than a foot of snow has fallen.

 

Paradise police say the family went into the mountains northeast of Chico to cut a Christmas tree Sunday.

 

They haven't been seen since. Their truck was found Monday night parked alongside the road.

 

Nearly 50 searchers with dogs are looking for the family in rugged terrain where temperatures dip below freezing.

 

The family includes a father and his three children, ages 18, 14 and 12.

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Man, I hate to hear that.  We can just hope that they have some minimal survival skills and are hunkered down until they are found.

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Man, I hate to hear that.  We can just hope that they have some minimal survival skills and are hunkered down until they are found.

 

I think you hit the nail on the head, nurker.  Just hunker down and stay put, build a nice fire.  IF they did that, they have a chance.

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Possibly more to the story than meets the eye, former husband and family disappears? Leaving mother/exwife alone.

Really hope that they are lost and will befound in good health, not another holiday retribution......

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I don't have much hope for them:

 

The four are apparently unfamiliar with survival techniques and did not take anything with them that would help during a prolonged stay in such a harsh climate, Rowe said. Yet it's possible that they stumbled onto one of several cabins near where they went into the woods, he said.

 

Why isn't there a course in high school labelled "Wilderness Survival"?  See Robert A. Heinlein's "Tunnel in the Sky".

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Rescuers airlifted a family out of a California mountain range Wednesday three days after they vanished in heavy snow. Frederick Dominguez, 38, and his three children trekked into the remote area to find a Christmas tree.

 

I havent heard much else yet but their about to tell about it on CNN.

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Father and Kids Survive 3 Days in Snow

By JULIET WILLIAMS,

AP

Posted: 2007-12-20 07:45:18

Filed Under: Nation News

PARADISE, Calif. (Dec. 20) -- A father and three children who vanished on a Christmas tree-cutting trip in the Northern California mountains were found alive after huddling in a culvert for warmth during three days of heavy snow.

 

A California Highway Patrol helicopter crew spotted Frederick Dominguez Wednesday waving his arms atop a small bridge and landed nearby, sinking into 2 feet of snow, flight officer David White said. White said the crew found the family on their last pass over the area as snow from another storm, even bigger than the first, started to fall heavily.

 

 

Frederick Dominguez talks about how he and his three children survived being lost for three days in a California mountain range. "You just want your kids to be safe and you're just praying, 'God, keep my kids alive,"' he said.

 

Hours later, after he had been checked at a hospital, Dominguez described three harrowing nights in the wild as he tried to keep his children from panicking and succumbing to the numbing cold.

 

"You just want your kids to be safe and you're just praying, 'God, keep my kids alive,"' he told reporters gathered at Feather River Hospital in Paradise.

 

The rescue came as their family and friends were starting to lose hope, with another storm moving in and beginning to dump yet more snow in the foothill region about 100 miles north of Sacramento.

 

"Our hearts are all full right now," said Cory Stahl, who closed his pest control business so his employees could help look for Dominguez , an employee. "It's a very merry Christmas now."

 

The helicopter ferried the family to safety in two trips; Alexis, 15, and Joshua, 12, were taken out of the woods first. Dominguez , 38, smiled at cheering family and friends as he and 18-year-old Christopher emerged from the helicopter a short time later.

 

"I'm just amazed how well they did," Lisa Sams said after seeing her children and ex-husband for the first time since they were rescued. "It was like butterflies in my stomach, like if you were going to go on a very first date."

 

Dominguez , seated in a wheelchair at the hospital and wiggling his toes beneath thick socks, described days and nights split between despair and a hunger to survive.

 

He admitted he was terrified they would not make it out, but remained strong for his children as he turned to his faith. His youngest, Joshua, needed constant reassurance.

 

"I said, 'Son, I would tell you what I bought you for Christmas if I thought we weren't going to make it,"' Dominguez recalled. "My kids were relying on me, and I'm scared, but you can't tell them you're scared."

 

As they searched for a tree Sunday, they got turned around in the woods and ended up on the wrong road. The first night, they used their saw to cut tree branches and create a crude shelter. They awoke to 8 inches of snow and began trying to get back to their truck.

 

"I just remember walking and walking and thinking, 'We're not going to make it.' I remember being really, really scared," Alexis told CNN Wednesday night.

 

They eventually wandered into a culvert that allowed a creek to flow beneath a dirt road and stayed there until their rescue Wednesday. It was a miserable place -- dark, cramped, wet and cold -- but provided just enough shelter.

 

One night it rained, sending snow melt shooting through the tunnel. At one point, Alexis lost a shoe and slept a night with her foot exposed. Dominguez ripped his sweat shirt and tied the shreds around her foot, rubbing it to keep it warm.

 

Outside, they used twigs and branches to create an SOS _ "Help."

 

The family used humor and songs from their church to lift their spirits.

 

The break in the search came mid-afternoon Wednesday when a state highway patrol helicopter spotted the father atop a small bridge and landed nearby, sinking into 2 feet of snow. Dominguez said he ran across rocks and snow in his bare feet when Alexis heard the helicopter.

 

Christopher told CNN they were all trying to keep their frozen feet warm when they heard the helicopter and told their father, shouting, "Helicopter, helicopter."

 

"We were all just happy, happy to be rescued," Christopher said.

 

All four were checked for dehydration, hypothermia and frostbite, treating physician Kurt Bower said. They were released later in the day.

 

"I'm surprised how good they are," he said. "There's a miracle from God in there somewhere."

 

The family's ordeal took place about 100 miles north of Sacramento. Dominguez 's pickup truck was found Monday night parked along a mountain road some 25 miles northeast of Chico, near the hamlet of Inskip.

 

The skies were clear when the family entered the woods Sunday and for hours afterward. The first storm wave didn't hit until Monday.

 

Because Dominguez had custody of his children at the time, his ex-wife did not know they were missing until she discovered that her youngest child failed to show up at school Monday. Authorities were alerted at 8 p.m. Monday and immediately began a search.

 

They quickly found the pickup -- a bare spot beneath it, indicating little snow when the trek began -- but at least 8 inches of snow was covering the ground, hurting efforts to track them.

 

More than a foot of snow had fallen in the mountains since the family disappeared, covering any tracks leading from the truck. The heavily wooded and canyon-crossed area contained drifts as high as 7 feet.

 

The rescue teams had been racing time and the elements to find the four, as a powerful storm carrying even more snow was headed into the region. The search effort expanded with a break in the weather Wednesday morning, and the helicopter was able to join the search around midday after low-lying clouds lifted.

 

Dominguez moved to the foothill town of Paradise about a year ago from Los Angeles to be closer to his children, who live with Sams. His co-workers said he is devoted to his children and takes them to church every Sunday, as he did this past weekend before heading out to look for a tree.

 

Dominguez joked Wednesday night that next Christmas, he'll buy a plastic tree.

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Glad they made it out!  :thumbsup:  He built a shelter, but I wonder if he had fire?  MSN.com had a feature a couple of weeks ago, "25 Things All Men Should Know" or something like that.  One of the things on the list was how to build a fire, not necessarily without matches, but fire making was on the list.

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I would say that family was very lucky, it could have easily turned out pretty bad for them, I wonder if CNN told its viewers any ways to prevent that from happening or what to carry with you if it does. I really doubt it. We have had similar incidents around here.

 

This is what it says about this type of lost persons in my Search and Rescue Operations Field Guide

 

" Gatherers- Cones, berries, mushrooms,rocks, pictures, etc."

 

1. Intentions are to stay in one location

2. Usually carry no provisions or survival gear

3. Travel in good weather and as a result do not wear anything but light clothing

4. Because their attention is focused on or near the ground, they are often misled by subtle terrain changes

5. Attempts to return to familiar ground only put them further out of contact because of their complete disorientation

6. High risk for survival

 

Reading the report of the incident, this seems to fit these people pretty well, once again I feel they were lucky

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SARdoc, that is so true about the "Gatherers".  I'm glad you posted it. :yes:  I hope it will remind each of us that we should always have some basic gear with us "just in case".

 

Look what happened to those seven people aboard "The Minnow". They went out for a three hour tour...a three hour tour...

 

...the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed...if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost...the Minnow would be lost...

 

:rofl:  Sorry, I get carried away sometimes.  But it really does point out how things can happen out of the blue like that. :yes:

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SARdoc, that is so true about the "Gatherers".  I'm glad you posted it. :yes:  I hope it will remind each of us that we should always have some basic gear with us "just in case".

 

Look what happened to those seven people aboard "The Minnow". They went out for a three hour tour...a three hour tour...

 

...the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed...if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost...the Minnow would be lost...

 

:rofl:   Sorry, I get carried away sometimes.  But it really does point out how things can happen out of the blue like that. :yes:

 

~ Now THOSE folks were survivors, Holly.  :thumbup:  My brother and I used to marvel at all the clothes Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell III. had with them. They had suitcases of clothes. (For a three hour tour.)  :smoke:

 

And they were lucky enough to have a professor of EVERYTHING with them.  They must have had hatchets and other gear, because they built a whole little village. Even a little car once. They had a performing stage, with chairs for the audience. I know we call ourselves survivors, but if you stuck any one of us out in the woods for a year, how many of us would've thought to build a performing stage, or a cute little Bamboo Foot-peddeled car to drive around in?   :unsure:   If our battery died, would we have had the insight enough to bring lab supplies along to create everything we needed?   8|

 

Here's to the castaways!  :cheers:

 

 

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I would say that family was very lucky, it could have easily turned out pretty bad for them, I wonder if CNN told its viewers any ways to prevent that from happening or what to carry with you if it does. I really doubt it. We have had similar incidents around here.

 

This is what it  says about this type of lost persons in my Search and Rescue Operations Field Guide

 

" Gatherers- Cones, berries, mushrooms,rocks, pictures, etc."

 

1. Intentions are to stay in one location

2. Usually carry no provisions or survival gear

3. Travel in good weather and as a result do not wear anything but light clothing

4. Because their attention is focused on or near the ground, they are often misled by subtle terrain changes

5. Attempts to return to familiar ground only put them further out of contact because of their complete disorientation

6. High risk for survival

 

Reading the report of the incident, this seems to fit these people pretty well, once again I feel they were lucky

 

I should have posted credits for this information, this is from the Search and Rescue Operations Field Guide published by the National Association For Search and Rescue www.nasar.org lots of good information on the subject of lost person behavior

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