Missing California sisters, aged 5 and 8, survived 44 hours in forest

Wilderness training credited for saving their lives

Missing California sisters Caroline Carrico, 5, and Leia Carrico, 8, survived 44 hours in the forest after they went for a walk on a deer trail on their family’s 80-acre property, wandered past a fallen tree that their father had warned them not to go beyond, and became lost.

The girls huddled under Caroline’s rain jacket for shelter and cuddled under a huckleberry bush to stay dry and warm as it began to rain and nighttime temperatures dropped to 38 degrees. When they became dehydrated they drank water from huckleberry leaves, which their parents had taught them to do.

The girls said they used survival skills they learned on family camping trips, their participation in 4-H, and from movies they’d watched about people being lost. The key lesson they followed was to stay in one place once they realized they were lost, search and rescue crews say. The massive search and rescue operation drew more than 200 law enforcement and military personnel from around California.

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