When he heard the helicopter, Frederick Dominguez went running—and not a moment too soon. The helicopter was seconds from leaving the area when it spotted the barefoot running man, whose Christmas tree hunt had resulted in his family being stranded for three days on a snow-covered California mountain. “It was nothing short of a miracle,” the paramedic on the copter told CNN.
Dominguez had arrayed branches to spell “HELP,” but the sign went unnoticed. “Had he not been moving, we would not have seen him,” the pilot said. Without food or supplies, they huddled together and sang to stay optimistic. “You just go into survival mode,” said Dominguez. “You would do anything, because these are your kids.”