SAN FRANCISCO (CBS13) — A San Francisco couple was rescued by complete strangers after being stranded in the snow for five days in the Mendocino National Forest.
“With the weather we had at the time, I’m fairly convinced the Jeep would have been buried by this morning. How long they would have made it I don’t know,” said Jason Logan, who helped rescue the couple.
Logan contemplated what the fate may have been for Carlos Hernandez and Maia Herman-Kitami had he not set out to find them.
“The wife said, ‘why don’t you guys go up and see if you can find these guys?’ So, we loaded up the snow machines and away we went,” Logan said.
On his day off Logan and his father-in-law, Ron Lovell, searched more than 20 miles for four hours on snow machines. They were considering turning back when, he said, a miracle happened.
“Sure enough, we came around the turn, and there’s a Jeep 300 yards away. It was just mind-boggling,” he said.
The excitement quickly turned to fear.
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“Finding the Jeep was the first part and then the unknown, you know? What happens? Are you going to open the doors and find anyone alive?” Logan said.
Luckily Carlos and Maia responded quickly.
“They started laying on the horn, you see both doors open and they jumped out each side,” Logan said.
For five days the couple rationed their food and melted snow for water. They cleared snow from the top of their Jeep and put a sign on a nearby tree.
The couple stayed inside the Jeep to keep warm in sleeping bags.
“They did everything right,” Logan said. “They were excited and we were excited and it didn’t feel like a rescue mission by any means, it was just ‘hey let’s get you out of here and get you down the hill.”
Jeeps came in to pull out the couple. Now Carlos and Maia are safe and back home in San Francisco, and Jason Logan’s family has some new friends.
“It was a happy ending for everyone,” Logan said.