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Head Injury Left Lost Hiker Unable to Walk

Holly Courtier, since found safe in Zion National Park, hit her head on a tree, daughter tells CNN
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2020 9:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – The hiker found 12 days after disappearing in Zion National Park became disoriented after a head injury, according to her daughter, who never gave up hope of finding her mother. Holly Courtier, 38, was last seen getting off a shuttle at the Utah park on Oct. 6. She was to take a return shuttle that afternoon but "she injured her head on a tree," daughter Kailey Chambers told CNN via text. "She was very disoriented as a result and thankfully ended up near a water source—a river bed." She stayed put, believing that was "her best chance of survival" as "she was unable to take more than a step or two without collapsing," Chambers said. Park rangers rescued Courtier "in a thickly vegetated area along the Virgin River" on Sunday after she was spotted by park visitors, per CNN. She was taken to a hospital, as she was malnourished and dehydrated.

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"She told me she was so dehydrated she couldn't open her mouth," said Chambers, who was reunited with her mother on Monday. She noted Courtier was without food and "is still weak but recovering." Courtier's sister, Jillian Courtier-Oliver, told ABC News that Courtier had lost a lot of weight and suffered "bruises all over her body." She had begun to lose hope that her sister would be found after days of searching for her in extreme conditions. "Basically they said today or Monday was going to be the last day that rangers could be involved and help us," she said on Sunday. "They had a lot of cadaver dogs out and I knew what they were looking for was a body, not a person." But "I knew if anyone could do it, it was going to be her," Courtier-Oliver added of Courtier. "She's such a fighter." Courtier is now recovering and can hopefully soon return home to California. (Read more Zion National Park stories.)

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