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January 15, 2007
Minnesotans Rescue Missing Hiker

Two Twin Cities brothers heard a faint sound while camping in New Mexico's Gila National Forest, strange enough to prompt them to investigate. They found Carolyn Dorn, a 52-year-old woman reported lost five weeks earlier, the subject of a search abandoned two weeks ago:

A faint sound made Albert and Peter Kottke stop and look around as they hiked out of the Gila Wilderness at the end of backpacking trip. A figure moved on the other side of the Gila River. As it drew closer, the two university students saw a woman, hunched over and moving slowly.

The Kottkes crossed the river to find Carolyn Dorn, 52, who had been alone in the Gila National Forest for five weeks after becoming trapped on the wrong side of the rain- and snow-swollen river. The search for her had been called off two weeks ago.

The brothers said they realized Dorn was too weak to go with them. They gave her food Tang, almonds, dried apples, an energy bar, some hot soup and a little cheese scavenged firewood for her from the other side of the river, filled her water bottles and left her a book suspense author Michael Connelly's "Chasing the Dime."

They hiked 20 miles over the next day and a half, and on Saturday hitchhiked into Silver City, where they contacted authorities.

Dorn was lucky. Described by her family as a "free spirit" who only infrequently contacts them, she could easily have been overlooked as her absence may not have been notable for months. Dorn went into the forest when the weather still was reasonable, but the flooded river cut her off for weeks and her food ran out. When the weather turned cold, she began to fail, and would likely have died within days had the Kottkes not found her.

The Minnesotans did the smart thing -- they provided for her and got the professionals to conduct the rescue. Thanks to their clear thinking, all three of them are alive today.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 15, 2007 6:31 AM

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