A couple who went missing on Valentine’s Day in northern California were found alive eight days after their disappearance, thanks to a hero dog named Groot.
As per reports, Carol Kiparsky, 77, and Ian Irwin, 72, were discovered at around 10 a.m. on Saturday morning “in very dense drainage that was overgrown with foliage”. Their rescue has been described as a ‘miracle’.
The couple, from Palo Alto, California, had been renting an Airbnb near Inverness on Valentine’s Day. When they failed to check out the next day, however, concerns began to grow. They didn’t show up for an appointment on February 16, either, prompting fears for their safety.
According to Fox News, Marin County Sherriff’s Sergeant Brenton Schneider said: “[They] left for a hike on Valentine’s, got lost at dark, and don’t know what happened.”
The couple were not properly equipped for their long hike, wearing only lightweight clothing and having taken no food with them.
“The reason they were most likely alive was because they were drinking from a puddle that they found near where they were located,” Schneider continued.
It’s thought the pair had fallen at some stage of their journey. Kiparsky had then attempted to find help on her own, tying parts of her scarf to branches so she would know how to find Irwin.
“They thought this was the end for them,” Schneider explained.
When the reality of the situation hit home, a team made of sheriff’s officials and volunteers searched through the woods and water for days. They used drones, divers and boats equipped with radar and sonar.
By Thursday, February 20, they believed their leads had been exhausted. The search shifted to a ‘recovery mission’ following four different alerts from cadaver dogs around Shell Beach, an area just two miles from the cottage where Carol and Ian had been staying.
They then searched a new area on Saturday, February 22, however – a location that had been deemed as implausible with regards to finding the couple.
Schneider stated: “It doesn’t seem they would have made it much farther because of how dense the vegetation is.”
Low and behold, search and rescue volunteers Quincy Webster and Rich Cassens – helped in no small part by their three-year-old search and rescue dog, Groot – found the pair alive.
The rescuers said they heard someone shouting for help. They then came across Irwin and Kiparsky, who said they were “very cold”.
“When they were found, they were very appreciative,” Schneider told. “Ian started singing when the helicopter arrived on scene.”
Carol and Ian were airlifted to hospital where they were treated for hypothermia. They’re now said to be recovering well.
Thank God this couple were found! Groot, you’re our hero, buddy.
Big thanks go out to everyone who assisted in the search for Ian and Carol. Share this article to send love and prayers their way.