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Hikers missing since Valentine's Day found alive, rescued

Sunday, February 23rd 2020, 4:45 pm - Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin, both in their 70s, were airlifted to safety after being found in Tomales Bay State Park, northern California.

A pair of hikers missing since February 14th in northern California have been found alive and airlifted to safety after a week-long search.

Carol Kiparsky, 77, and Ian Irwin, 72, were staying at an Airbnb near Tomales Bay State Park, north of San Francisco, enjoying a hiking holiday. ABC7 reports the couple went on a hike on Valentine's Day, but apparently got off track after nightfall. The Airbnb owner's contacted police the following day, sparking a weeklong search.

The couple's prospects were considered so bleak by authorities that the rescue operation was switched to a recovery operation on Thursday, February 20th, meaning searchers didn't expect to find them alive, not least because temperatures dropped to near zero over the week.

However, the couple were found by searchers on Saturday morning, having gone a week without food but getting water by drinking from a puddle.

"At first we thought it was another team, but they started yelling 'Help.' We looked at each other and were like, 'That's them!'" Quincy Webster, a Marin County Search and Rescue volunteer, said at the news conference, according to CNN. "They were like, 'Thank God you found us.'"

The pair were airlifted to hospital, apparently suffering from only mild hypothermia, and are expected to make a full recovery.

The airlift was needed because the terrain where the couple was found was very dense and difficult to reach. Still, the search-and-rescue operation was extensive, with 450 people involved over the course of the week, along with dogs, drones, boats and airplanes.

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