72-year-old woman lost 9 days in Arizona forest wrote ‘help’ in sticks

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – A woman lost in an Arizona forest for nine days survived by drinking pond water, eating plants and spelling out “help” on the ground with sticks, authorities said Tuesday.

The sign helped lead rescuers to Ann Rodgers, 72, in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona earlier this month, the state Department of Public Safety said. Rodgers declined to comment when reached by The Associated Press.

She went missing March 31 as she headed to visit her grandkids in Phoenix. Rodgers got lost and her hybrid vehicle ran out of gas and electric power, authorities say. Her car was discovered three days after a search began, but rescue crews struggled to find her.

Authorities came across her dog April 9, and a DPS flight crew spotted a “help” signal made of sticks and rocks on the ground. Rodgers had left the area, but she was found nearby on the Fort Apache Reservation after starting a signal fire.

She was rescued in fair condition and has been released from the hospital.

Rodgers has a Tucson-region area code, but it was not clear where she lives or how she wound up in the eastern part of the state. The drive from Tucson to Phoenix is a straight shot on Interstate 10, which does not run through the area where she was found.

Rodgers’ rescue comes after three men who spelled out “help” with palm fronds were saved from a remote Pacific island last week. They swam to a tiny Micronesian island when their boat capsized, and searchers spotted them two days later.

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