Paula Lane Stranded for Six Days in the Sierra Nevadas Survived by Eating Tomatoes and Sheltering in Hollow Tree
The Nevada mother-of-two who spent six days stranded in the snow-filled Sierra Nevada mountains told her doctor that she survived by eating tomatoes and snow and huddling in a hollow tree for warmth at night.
Paula Lane, 46, and her boyfriend Roderick Clifton, 44, were reported missing on November 29 when their car became stuck in a snowstorm as they drove from the home of Clifton's mother in Citrus Heights, Calif., to their own home in Gardnerville, Nev.
Though Clifton died trying to reach help, Lane was discovered on Wednesday by her brother who tirelessly searched the woman and never gave up hope that they would bring her home alive.
Gone: Roderick Clifton, 44, was found dead miles from his Jeep after he and his girlfriend went off-roading inthe Sierra Nevada mountains and were trapped by a snowstorm
Mystery: Authorities are still unsure of Clifton's cause of death
Treacherous: Mr Clifton and Ms Lane were left stranded after a massive snowstorm hit in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
It is believed the couple took their Jeep off-roading when they became stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains somewhere off Highway 88/89 on November 29.
Because of limited mobile service in the high altitudes, authorities were unable to track their cell phones.
'We were told they were off four-wheel driving up that road and got stuck,' said Citrus Heights spokesman Officer Bryan G. Fritsch.
Clifton left the jeep on November 30 in an effort to seek help but he never returned. His body was discovered on Wednesday, several miles away from the highway.
Clifton is survived by three daughters.
Survivor: It was Paula Lane's brother Gary, left, who found her. She is being treated at a nearby hospital but is expected to survive without injury
When her boyfriend failed to return, Lane waited in the vehicle until Monday when she decided to set out to look for him.
She told rescuers she found his body as she tried to make her way to the highway.
A massive manhunt had been launched on December 1 to search for the pair and her brother, Gary Lane, had rented a front loader and was patrolling the roadway.
'It's been a rough haul, waiting all those days, trying to know if she'd made it or not,' Lane's older sister, Linda Hathaway, said at a news conference on Thursday at Carson Tahoe Regional Hospital, where Lane was admitted for first-degree frostbite and malnourishment, according to ABC News.
Lane is the mother of 11-year-old twin sons and Hathaway said they had prepared the boys for the worst.
Location: Mr Clifton and Ms Lane were traveling to their Gardnerville, Nevada, home from Mr Clifton's mother's house in Citrus Heights, California
Searching: After spending a day in the Jeep, Clifton went off on his own to find help
In an amazing turn of events, Paula Lane was found on Wednesday crawling in the snow by her brother, who knew that his sister liked to camp out in the area.
'She is mighty and she's a survivor and loves life,' Hathaway said about her sister's strength amidst the terrifying ordeal.
Lane's attending physician, Dr. Vijay Maiya, said the woman told him that she sought shelter 'hiding out in a hollow tree,' in addition to eating the tomatoes the couple had packed in the car with them.
She also said she ate snow to try and stay hydrated.
'She is medically stable. She's recovering nicely,' Maiya said at the news conference.
He said the woman's road to recovery will include 25 per cent of physical recovery and the remaining 75 per cent will be overcoming the emotional trauma of the event.
She is being treated for first-degree frostbite and malnourishment.