A Canadian woman who survived for seven weeks on water and trail mix after getting stranded in a remote part of Nevada was recovering yesterday as a search for her husband moved ahead.
Hunters on Friday spotted the van of Albert and Rita Chretien on a logging road in Elko County in northeastern Nevada, according to a statement by the Baker City, Oregon, police, who had searched for the couple.
The Chretiens disappeared in late March during a trip to Las Vegas.
The 56-year-old woman told her son, Raymond Chretien, that her 59-year-old husband set off for help on foot a few days after their van got stuck in mud, while she stayed with the van. That was the last she saw of him.
“We’re stunned,” Raymond Chretien told the Oregonian in a phone interview. “We haven’t fully digested it. This is a miracle.”
Officer Dan Moskaluk, spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia, said Rita Chretien was at an Idaho hospital and reportedly walking around.
“Her family said she lived off water and small amounts of trail mix,” losing 9kg to 14kg during the ordeal, Moskaluk said.
Raymond Chretien said the Elko sheriff’s office was searching for his father yesterday. The office told the Elko Daily Free Press that the couple’s vehicle was found in a ravine. The area is about a five-hour drive from Baker City.
The couple left their Penticton, British Columbia, home on March 19 and reached Baker City in eastern Oregon that afternoon, where they were captured on a store’s surveillance camera.
Raymond Chretien told the Oregonian they made it to Nevada later that day and were sightseeing on back roads when their van got stuck in mud. Three days later, Albert Chretien set out on foot.
“They got turned around off the main road that they should have been on,” Moskaluk said.
Officials said weather over the past month in that area has included snow, rain and chilly temperatures.
“I don’t believe they were prepared for winter weather,” Raymond Chretien said. “They don’t go camping.”