Are your kids prepared to survive if faced with an unexpected situation?
It’s admittedly (and tragically) rare when we hear good endings to real life stories of young children who have gone missing.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, if a child has been missing for twenty four hours, the chances of them being found safely again drop dramatically.
But fortunately, there was a happy ending to the story of two young girls from California who went missing in the wild for more than forty hours...and furthermore, there is a very valuable survival lesson that we can learn from this as well.
Two sisters named Leia and Caroline Carrico, ages eight and five respectively, became lost in the California woods in early March of 2019. The girls had wandered too far from home after going for a walk on a deer path away from the family’s property. The girls’ parents had given both of them permission to wander the family’s massive eighty acre property on the condition that they never go past an enormous fallen tree relatively close to the house.
Of course, both of the sisters walked beyond the tree, and afterwards Carolina stated it was because they wanted “an adventure.”
The girls knew they had become lost once they realized that they were essentially walking around in circles, and neither sister knew what the proper way home was.
But to stay alive, the girls drank rainwater that they collected form large leaves. They also wrapped Caroline’s coat over brush to use as shelter from the rain and wind. Even though temperatures would often drop to nearly freezing at night, both girls persevered and later stated that they thought of happy memories as motivation to stay alive.
After more than forty hours, the girls were found by the local fire department around a mile and a half away from the family’s residence.
While living off of rainwater may seem like the primary survival lesson here, the real lesson at hand is undoubtedly using hope and the expectation that things will return to normal in order to stay alive like the Carrico sisters used.
The parents then called the local sheriff, who organized a search party of locals, firemen, and police officers. Personnel were recruited from around the entire state – more than 200 people in total.
Travis Carrico tried to stay rational, but said his wife “went to a really dark place.” Soon, he was also very upset. “I went through every emotion you could think of, from thinking it was a dream to (curling) up and crying.” Misty Carrico admitted that she “wasn’t hopeful” when the first long day stretched into two. “After the first night, I could hear my kids screaming for help in my head.”
Every parent’s worst nightmare – times two.
The girls managed to drink rainwater they collected from large leaves but got steadily more hungry as they hadn’t packed even a protein bar for their ill-fated walk. Still, they tried to keep calm, mostly, though eventually both lost their voices from screaming for help.
Finally, two of the men in the search party, both from the fire department, saw granola bar wrappers on the ground that made them wonder if the girls were close.
They paused, and suddenly heard a small voice say “Dad?” It was the exact outcome everyone prayed for but which parents seldom get when children are lost for almost two full days. Finally, the men spotted the girls huddled under the bush.
Their parents had taught them survival skills, and rule number one was: don’t move if you get lost. Stay put. And that’s exactly what the girls did, to everyone’s relief and amazement.
By the time the sisters were rescued on Sunday at around 10 in the morning, they were ready to go home and into the arms of their anxious parents – who immediately fed them pizza and ordered GPS trackers for both daughters to wear the next time they go hiking. While they were technically in trouble for wandering off, neither parent was in a mood to punish them.
“They saved each other,” said a happy and relieved Misty. “I’m the proud mom. I raised superheroes.” Two young girls getting lost in the forest for two days and surviving with little more than their wits? “Superheroes” doesn’t begin to describe them.