72-year-old Arizona woman survives 9 days lost in remote area

Apr 13, 2016, 4:30 AM | Updated: 12:53 pm
(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)...
(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)
(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)

PHOENIX — A 72-year-old Arizona woman and her dog were pulled out of a remote desert area by search crews who spotted the “help” signal she’d built out of sticks and rocks.

On March 31, Ann Rodgers was stranded on a remote stretch of a back country road near Canyon Creek on the White River Indian Reservation. She was on her way to Phoenix to visit her grandchildren but became lost, ran out of gas and depleted the charge in her hybrid vehicle, according to the Department of Public Safety.

(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)

(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)

Rodgers became disoriented while trying to get phone service and climbing several ridge lines. For more than a week, the woman and her dog survived by drinking pond water and eating plants. Her vehicle was finally discovered on April 3, which set in motion a two-day search for her.

Finally, a White River Tribal Game and Fish officer found Rodgers’ dog wandering on April 9.

During the aerial search, aircraft crew spotted the distress signal spelling. Near it was a handwritten message from Rodgers dated April 3, explaining that she was out of food and water and was trying to get down the canyon.

DPS searchers found an abandoned shelter further down the canyon and finally found Rodgers around a bend standing next to a signal fire and waving to the helicopter.

She was suffering from exposure but was able to walk and was in fair condition.

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72-year-old Arizona woman survives 9 days lost in remote area