Published: Fri, January 17, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

After 6 days, California woman found alive in car buried in snow

After 6 days, California woman found alive in car buried in snow

Paula Beth James, 68, was rescued after a search helicopter spotted her inside her Toyota 4Runner near the remote Butte Meadows, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said.

James was last seen on the evening of January 9 in Oroville, California, causing the Butte County Sheriff's Office to issue a "silver alert" showing a picture of her smiling and an image of her SUV.

There was no response to the hovering, which caused searchers to doubt they would find James alive, Honea said. She was in stable condition on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

Photos of the rescue mission show the SUV in a snow-covered rural field surrounded by trees.

The family of a woman with dementia who survived for six days in her snowbound SUV in Northern California said they feared the worst.

'It's wonderful news and this is the outcome that we had all been hoping for, ' said Megan McMann, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The sheriff's office sent a tracked vehicle designed for traveling on snow to get James.

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"This morning we thought she was probably dead", Powell told FOX40. "So, it was just literally a miracle that those guys found her in just the nick of time".

The sheriff's office added that BCSO deputies, detectives, search and rescue crews and pilots spent more than 100 hours searching for James.

"I really want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the sheriff's department".

James, who is from Oroville, about 50 miles from Butte Meadows, was last seen on Thursday and authorities said that she could have been disoriented.

She was severely dehydrated and developed some frostbite but is doing well, relatives said.

'She was awake and conscious, and she looked at them and said: "I'm very cold right now I hope you brought a blanket,"' her daughter Laura Powell said. As the days dragged on, her family anxious they'd never see her again.

"I just am so thankful for the relief that everyone is going to have tonight knowing that she's safe and warm and fed and we'll get to bring her home soon", Powell said.

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