Rita Chretien stranded 7 weeks in Nevada wilderness found/ Husband Albert Chretien's body found weekend of September 29th-30th, 2012

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Normal Rita Chretien stranded 7 weeks in Nevada wilderness found/ Husband Albert Chretien's body found weekend of September 29th-30th, 2012

Post by raine1953 on Sat May 07, 2011 4:31 pm

(AP)  ELKO, Nevada — A Canadian woman who survived for seven weeks on water and trail mix after getting stranded in a remote part of Nevada was recovering Saturday as a search for her husband moves ahead.
Hunters on Friday spotted the van of Albert and Rita Chretien on a logging road in Elko County in northeastern Nevada, according to a statement by the Baker City, Oregon, police, who had searched for the couple.

The Chretiens disappeared in late March during a trip to Las Vegas.

The 56-year-old woman told her son, Raymond Chretien, that her 59-year-old husband set off for help on foot a few days after their van got stuck in mud, while she stayed with the van. That was the last she saw of him.

"We're stunned," Raymond Chretien told The (Portland) Oregonian in a telephone interview. "We haven't fully digested it. This is a miracle."

Officer Dan Moskaluk, spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia, said Rita Chretien was at an Idaho hospital and reportedly walking around.

"Her family said she lived off water and small amounts of trail mix," losing 20-30 pounds during the ordeal, Moskaluk told The Associated Press.

Raymond Chretien said the Elko sheriff's office was searching for his father Saturday. The office told the Elko Daily Free Press that the couple's vehicle was found in a ravine. The area is about a five-hour drive from Baker City.

The couple left their Penticton, British Columbia, home on March 19, and reached Baker City in eastern Oregon that afternoon, where they were captured on a store's surveillance camera.

Raymond Chretien told The Oregonian they made it to Nevada later that day and were sightseeing on back roads when their van got stuck in mud. Three days later, Albert Chretien set out on foot.

"They got turned around off the main road that they should have been on," Moskaluk said.

Officials said weather over the past month in that area has included snow, rain and chilly temperatures.

"I don't believe they were prepared for winter weather," Raymond Chretien said. "They don't go camping."

The Chretiens were reported missing when they didn't return home March 30.

The RCMP, Baker City police and other agencies mounted a search in April but failed to turn up any sign.

Moskaluk described it as an extensive search covering 3,000 square miles.

Raymond Chretien said his mother doubts whether she would have made it three more days. She had been keeping a journal to let her family know what had happened.

Her son says she immediately apologized for the anguish she caused him, his two brothers and other relatives.

"She felt extremely bad for us all," he said.



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Albert and Rita Chretien Rita of Penticton, British Columbia, are shown in this undated photo. The couple went missing en route to Las Vegas seven weeks ago. Rita Chretien was found alive Friday, May 6, 2011, in a remote part of northeastern Nevada, police say. (AP/RCMP via Canadian Press)

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Last edited by raine1953 on Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Normal Re: Rita Chretien stranded 7 weeks in Nevada wilderness found/ Husband Albert Chretien's body found weekend of September 29th-30th, 2012

Post by raine1953 on Sat May 07, 2011 4:34 pm

For this woman to be alive is nothing short of a miracle! Can you imagine being stranded in that kind of weather for 7 long weeks with only some trail mix? I sure hope there's another miracle coming and they somehow find her husband alive. I've read this thread on another forum and never thought they'd be found alive. Good news!
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Normal Re: Rita Chretien stranded 7 weeks in Nevada wilderness found/ Husband Albert Chretien's body found weekend of September 29th-30th, 2012

Post by Wrapitup on Sat May 07, 2011 9:01 pm

I saw this on Yahoo and was going to post it, Raine. You beat me to it! LOL!!

It's truly unbelievable Rita survived for seven weeks in the cold w/only snow and trail mix to eat. She should be commended for her survival skills!! I wonder how much gas was in her car? I am sure she turned on the heater at times. It may have been what saved her..that she didn't die of hypothermia.

I don't have very positive thoughts about her husband, as he was on foot. I hope I am wrong!!

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Normal Re: Rita Chretien stranded 7 weeks in Nevada wilderness found/ Husband Albert Chretien's body found weekend of September 29th-30th, 2012

Post by mommyof3kids on Sat May 07, 2011 9:12 pm

I read this on my way home today and was THRILLED to finally hear some good outcomes for once!! :cheering: :celebration:
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Normal Re: Rita Chretien stranded 7 weeks in Nevada wilderness found/ Husband Albert Chretien's body found weekend of September 29th-30th, 2012

Post by Wrapitup on Sat May 07, 2011 9:24 pm

By surviving 49 days in the wilderness, 56-year-old Rita Chretien has astonished survival experts.

"I'm blown away," said Brian Wheeler, who is president and founder of the Northwest School of Survival in Sandy, Ore., a company that teaches survival classes throughout the Northwest.

In what some may call the best Mother's Day ever, her prolonged stay in a remote area of northern Nevada is a surprising feat of human endurance, one that Wheeler attributes to the shelter of the couple's 2000 Chevy Astro van and her attention to hydration.

Wheeler, who has taught survival classes for more than 30 years, has trained near the remote high-desert area where the couple's van was found. With heavy precipitation, the area is harsh, he said, and even the most experienced survivalist would be challenged there, let alone survive for nearly two months.

"She did a lot of things right -- enough things right -- she stayed with the vehicle, she stayed hydrated, rationing whatever food she did have and she didn't panic," he said.

While the full details of her survival are not immediately available, it is known that she had a limited amount of food and drank water by melting snow.

That hydration is a vital key to surviving the cold for so long, said Cameron Bangs, an Oregon City doctor who co-authored "Hypothermia, Frostbite, and Other Cold Injuries: Prevention, Recognition and Pre-Hospital Treatment."

Water not only plays a vital role in bodily functions, but also helps stave off cold injuries like frostbite.

"You can live without food for weeks, it's not fun but you can," he said. "But you can't live without water. Three or four days is about max, so that's very important."

But while her survival defied the odds, Wheeler warned that the ordeal could have been avoided. The couple were last spotted in Baker City, and didn't tell anyone about plans to go sightseeing, so crews focused their search in southeastern Oregon, hundreds of miles from where the van was eventually found.

"If you stay with the vehicle, your chances of survival are greater," he said, "but that's if someone's going to find you."

The chance of being found in a remote area is slim, he said. Wheeler recommends notifying friends and family of travel plans, staying off dangerous roads, always carrying two to three days' worth of food along with a gallon of water per person and having an escape plan.

"She kept her head and she did a couple things right," Wheeler said, "and that's what undoubtedly saved her life."

On Saturday, crews renewed their search for the still-missing Albert Chretien. But without the shelter of the car, officials say the chances of his survival are slim.

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