BAKER CITY, Ore. – A woman in her seventies has astounded doctors by surviving nearly two weeks in the thick woods of Eastern Oregon's rugged Wallowa Mountains.
Doctors said Doris Anderson was hours from death when found on Thursday, with a body temperature that had dropped to 90 degrees.
Lost on a hunting trip, the grandmother of seven was lightly clothed and had no supplies or survival gear as overnight temperatures dropped into the 30s during her ordeal.
"I've never seen anything like it," said her emergency room doctor, Dr. Steve DeLashmutt. "For being out in the mountains for a couple of weeks she was in pretty good shape, amazingly good shape."
Family members gave her age as 77 Friday but the hospital admissions office and the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles list it as 76.
Anderson was listed in critical but stable condition Friday night. She was extremely dehydrated, cold and incoherent when she arrived at St. Elizabeth Health Services in Baker City after being found by two law enforcement officers. DeLashmutt said Anderson may have sustained herself with water from a nearby creek. Her hip was injured but not broken, he said.
Family members said Friday evening that she has talked to them but has revealed no details of her ordeal. She is expected to be hospitalized for about a week.
"My mother is so much stronger than I ever thought she was," said one of her daughters, Barbara Moore.
Her other daughter, Cheryl Long, said she was grateful to "all the people that were looking for her ... all the people that were praying, because she's coming home."
Since Aug. 24, rescue teams had been combing the mountainous area just south of the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, but had found no sign of Anderson.
On Thursday, a day after a sheriff's deputy asked Anderson's husband once again how the couple had become separated in the woods, the deputy and others returned to an area they had checked before and found her.
"We just asked her if she was hurt and talked to her about her family," Trooper Chris Hawkins said Friday after a helicopter plucked her from the woods and took her to the hospital.
He said he and Baker County sheriff's deputy Travis Ash were looking for scavenger birds when they heard, but did not see, a flock of ravens that led them to the woman.
Family members said she had frostbite on her toes but will not need surgery.
Moore said the family considers it a "miraculous intervention." Family members said they believe the rescue was in God's hands because ravens are mentioned in the Bible.
Anderson was on a bow hunting trip with her 74-year-old husband, Harold, when their sport utility vehicle, pulling a utility trailer, got stuck. Harold Anderson broke his wrist unloading an all-terrain vehicle from the trailer.
The couple tried to walk to a U.S. Forest Service road for help but became exhausted. Harold Anderson said his wife headed back to the vehicle. A hunting party later found Harold Anderson, disoriented, but there was no sign of his wife.
When he heard that his wife had been rescued, Harold Anderson said, he threw up his hands, and said "Praise God, she's alive."