Eight days after they vanished while hiking in northern California—and two days after searchers essentially gave up hope that they were still alive—a couple has been found safe. Carol Kiparsky, 77, and Ian Irwin, 72, of Palo Alto were rescued by helicopter Saturday and are recovering in a hospital from minor hypothermia, KRSN reports. They had set out on a hike Feb. 14. Soon lost in a dense forest, they had nothing to eat and survived by drinking water from a puddle. Kiparsky lost her shoes, per CNN. Their clothes were light, and temperatures fell into the 30s while they were lost. On Thursday, presuming the couple could not have survived that long, rescue officials changed the mission from search and rescue to search and recovery.
But two volunteer searchers heard voices while looking through a dense, overgrown drainage area on Saturday morning. They thought they were hearing other searchers, until they heard "Help!" One of the searchers said, "They were like, 'Thank God you found us.'"
Irwin began singing as they neared. The couple's family, a sheriff's official said, is "ecstatic to say the least." Kiparsky and Irwin were found about 50 miles north of San Francisco, near Shell Beach in Tomales Bay State Park. The Marin County Sheriff's Department, which posted video of the rescue, said nearly 450 people were looking for the couple. They used K9s, drones, the Mounted Posse, boats and airplanes. (Read more hikers stories.)