Couple who vanished at California vacation cottage found alive after a week

They had been missing since Feb. 14.

February 22, 2020, 7:52 PM

A husband and wife in their 70s have been found alive more than a week after they vanished from their Northern California vacation cottage, a development authorities said was nothing short of a miracle.

Carol Kiparsky, 77, and Ian Irwin, 72, were recovering at a local hospital after being found Saturday afternoon in dense terrain, Brenton Schneider, spokesman for the sheriff's office, said at a press conference. They were suffering from light hypothermia, but overall "are doing OK," he said.

The couple managed to stay alive by drinking water from a puddle that they found, according to authorities. Both were found wearing only light clothing, and Kiparsky had no shoes. She also didn't have her scarf because she used bits of the fabric as a marker to help her get back to Irwin when she once tried to find help alone.

PHOTO: In these undated photos released by the Marin County Sheriff's Office are Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin.
In these undated photos released by the Marin County Sheriff's Office are Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin.
Marin County Sheriff's Office via AP

"We've all come to the conclusion that Carol and Ian surviving is a miracle. We are ecstatic," Schneider said.

Quincy Webster, a member of the team that spotted Kiparsky and Irwin, said he was searching in the area when he heard shouts of "help."

He said the two told the members who found them, "Thank God you found us. We're so happy."

The Marin County Sheriff's Office shared some photos of the couple with some cuts and bruises but said they were in "great spirits."

Authorities said they'd gone out for a hike on Feb. 14 and gotten lost. They were last seen at a rental home in Inverness/Seahaven.

Just two days ago, officials were less optimistic and deemed their efforts a "recovery mission," saying that if the two were responsive or reachable by foot, "we believe that our extensive search efforts" would have found them.

"I think from what it sounds like, they thought this was the end for them," Schneider said. "Thankfully, all the folks you see behind me are as dedicated as they are."