Rescuers Save Elderly Woman Nine Days Lost (Photos)

| by Sean Kelly
A help sign made out of sticksA help sign made out of sticks

A 72-year-old woman was rescued from the Arizona wilderness, where she spent nine days wandering alone. She used sticks to spell out the word "HELP!"

Ann Rodgers was found along with her dog April 10 at the White River Indian Reservation in Arizona, after reportedly getting stranded March 31 while driving to visit her grandchildren.

“What I feel like is a survivor,” Rodgers told NBC News. “How stupid could I be?”

Rodgers said she ran out of gas and soon became disoriented, getting stranded in the woods and wandering with her dog for nine days, looking for help.

“I just moved as fast as I could,” she said of her efforts to find help over the course of the ordeal. “If I couldn’t do that, I crawled. If I couldn’t do that, I sat on my butt and crawled.”

Rodgers admitted that she thought about the possibility she wouldn’t survive.

“All right, if this is the end — if this is it — at least I'm going to die in the most natural beautiful cathedral I have been in in a long time,” she said. “And then I thought, ‘No, I ain’t giving up yet.'”

A search was ultimately launched to locate Rodgers, during which time an aerial crew spotted a distress signal she’d built from sticks that spelled the word “HELP!” 

She was finally rescued by a White River Tribal Game and Fish officer.

“Old people are thought of as not always as able to do things as others, which is true in many ways,” she said. “However, because we age, wisdom [and] memories become part of your knowledge base that help you survive."

According to tribal game and fish detective Johnny Holmes, Rodgers survived off of berries, plants and water from a nearby creek. The makeshift sign, Holmes told AZ Central, played a major role in bringing her home safe.

“If she didn’t do her part, we might still be out there looking for her,” Holmes said. “She partook in her own rescue by giving our guys clues to find and follow where she was.”

Sources: NBC News, AZ Central / Photo credit: Daily Mail 

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