"This is an absolute miracle," Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said Sunday after two little girls who went missing on Friday were found alive in rugged terrain in northern California. Honsal said 5- and 8-year-old sisters Caroline and Leia Carrico were found by a volunteer fire chief and a firefighter in woods about 1.4 miles from their home in the Humboldt County town of Benbow, the AP reports. "This is rugged territory, this is an extreme environment," the sheriff said. "How they were out there for 44 hours is pretty amazing." He said the girls "are dehydrated, they are cold, but they are well," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Authorities say the girls disappeared Friday afternoon after they told their mother they wanted to go for a walk and she said no. More than 250 people joined the search, some of them driving from as far as eight hours away. Honsal told reporters that survival training the girls got with their local 4-H club helped keep them "safe and sound." He said that when the girls got lost, they decided to stay in one place, drinking water from huckleberry leaves. Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Fridley tells the Los Angeles Times that searchers got a break when they spotted discarded granola bars wrappers and prints from the girls' rubber boots. He says their mother "melted on the phone" when he told her they had been found. (This stranded Oregon man survived on taco sauce packets.)