In what is being billed as a 'miracle,' rescue a couple who disappeared during a hiking vacation in Northern California have been found alive after a week-long search by authorities.
Carol Kiparsky, 77, and Ian Irwin, 72, were discovered near Shell Beach in Tomales Bay State Park, a national park located about 50 miles north of San Francisco.
"This is a miracle," Marin County Sheriff's Sgt. Brenton Schneider told reporters Saturday afternoon.
Rescuers were able to extract the two academics using a helicopter and transported them to a local hospital. Officials say the pair were doing OK, but were dehydrated and suffering from slight hypothermia. The pair were found after rescuers heard them yelling for help.
"They found a puddle nearby and that’s what they were using to survive," he said.
Hundreds of volunteers were deployed in a massive search for the couple last week after the two academics failed to check out from their Inverness-area vacation cottage the weekend of Feb. 15. Family members told authorities they last heard from the couple on Feb. 14. Housekeepers also discovered all their belongings still in the AirBNB cottage they rented, including their cellphones, wallets and vehicle.
"The last three days the temperatures dropped down in to the 30s," Schneider said. "It wasn't looking great for chance of survival."
The rescue effort for the Palo Alto couple was changed into a search and recovery mission on Thursday, meaning the couple was presumed dead.
"They are in great spirits and want to thank every single person who has kept them in their thoughts," the Marin County Sheriff's office posted on Facebook, including a photo of the couple flashing a thumbs up. "On behalf of the Irwin and Kiparsky family, Thank You."
Photo: Marin County Sheriff's Office