Curiosity

Two Young Sisters With Survival Skills Training Were Found Alive In The Wilderness After 2 Days

What a happy ending to a scary situation!

Two young sisters who spent 44 hours lost in the woods near their home used their 4-H survival skills to help them stay safe until they were rescued on March 3.

Leia Carrico, age 8, and Caroline Carrico, 5, were anxious to go on an adventure on March 1 after a spell of rainy weather where they live, in southern Humboldt County, California. Their mother was busy getting items ready for a trip to the dump and told them to wait, but the girls were impatient.

“They really wanted to get out of the house,” Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said in an ABC News interview. So at about 2:30 p.m. the two girls went off on their own into the woods behind their family’s 80-acre property, following a deer track.

The girls passed a marker their father told them to never go beyond. They soon found themselves lost.

Leia realized they were walking in a circle and used her camping knowledge and survival training to find shelter from the rainy, cold conditions.

In fact, when search and rescue workers found the girls, they were dry, despite the weather. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office posted a photo of some members of the search and rescue team with Caroline not long after they found the girls:

“Hypothermia could have set in, but they kept dry,” Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal told ABC News. “That was the key thing for these girls.”

The sisters knew to stay in one spot, huddled together for warmth under Caroline’s raincoat, and drank rainwater off huckleberry leaves — a survival skill their parents had taught them — during the nearly two days they were lost. They drew from other skills they’d learned in 4-H and from watching movies about people getting lost. At one point Leia tried to build a fire.

“Caroline slept a little, but I kept watch on both nights,” Leia told ABC News.

Caroline said she was “a little scared,” and cried the first night. But Leia told her to “keep happy thoughts of our family.”

After the girls went missing, about 250 searchers from several dozen agencies and surrounding counties fanned out looking for the Carricos in the forested areas near the girls’ home in the rural town of Benbow, which is about a 20-minute drive south of Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Northern California.

Delbert Chumley and Abram Hill from Piercy Volunteer Fire Department found the girls on the morning of March 3 by tracking their boot prints. The sisters had wandered about 1.4 miles from their home, near Richardson Grove State Park.

“The sisters were evaluated by medical personnel for dehydration and given water and warm, dry clothing,” according to a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department press release.

The girls were soon reunited with their extremely anxious family, also captured by the sheriff’s department:

North Coast Journal was on the scene when rescuers brought the girls to their parents, and the Journal shared video snippets of the emotional reunion online:

The girls were taken to a local hospital, where doctors checked them out, they ate pizza and popsicles. They were back home by March 4.

What a happy ending to a scary situation!