(FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.) — After 10 days trapped alone inside her Toyota Corolla in freezing temperatures deep within a secluded mountain range, an Arizona woman has been rescued from her ordeal and is now recovering at Flagstaff Medical Center.
Lauren Weinberg, an Arizona State University student, survived on two candy bars and melted snow for water after her car became stuck in snow outside a forest gate near a line of cliffs with no one around for miles. The 23-year-old sat in the car without a heavy coat or blanket for nearly a week and a half as another snow storm dumped more than two feet of snow around her.
“She did not have a lot in the way of provisions, she did not have a lot in the way of warm clothing,” police told ABC News. “She had a cellphone with her. She told us that she couldn’t use it because the battery was dead, and then I guess at some point because of the cold it became completely disabled.”
Weinberg had last been seen leaving her mother’s house in Phoenix on the night of Dec. 11. She drove four hours toward Arizona’s Mogollon Rim when a gate blocked her from traveling any farther. It was when she attempted to turn her car around that she became stuck.
Park rangers found her on Wednesday about 45 miles southeast of Winslow, according to Coconino County sheriff’s spokesman Gerry Blair.
“They took her out on a snowmobile. She was taken to a waiting deputy to a point where you could get a four-wheel drive vehicle and then she was transported from there,” Blair said.
Weinberg, an undergraduate student who is studying supply chain management, released a statement on Thursday thanking her rescuers.
“I am so thankful to be alive and warm,” she said. “Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers, because they worked. There were times I was afraid but mostly I had faith I would be found.”
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN
Jethro Mullen, Ravi Hiranand and Frank Pallotta, CNN
Elise Labott, Kevin Liptak and Patrick Oppmann, CNN
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN