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A man was lost in the San Bernardino National Forest for two weeks, but thanks to some campers, he is alive and well.
“So we went up to go camping,” said Allison Scott. “We both had some time off work and it was the day after Thanksgiving.”
It was a day Allison Scott and her boyfriend Freddie Valdivia won’t forget anytime soon.
Shortly after finding a remote area to camp in the San Bernardino National Forest a few miles from Angelus Oaks, the couple heard something.
“A plane flew by pretty low and we heard somebody yelling help, and so I called out ‘hello.’ And he heard us and he kept yelling,” she said.
Scott says it took about 30 minutes to hike to the man’s location because of the rugged terrain.
They eventually found him in a creek bed. He said his name was Eric.
In a video the couple took, he can be heard saying: “Sorry to put a damper on your guy’s camping trip.”
And what a story he had to tell.
“He was pretty out of it. He was obviously starving, he wasn’t super dehydrated because he was drinking creek water. But he told us he had taken a cab up and was hiking up to Big Bear from Angelus Oaks and he had gotten lost and he had been trying to find somebody to help him for days. He couldn’t walk anymore because his feet were so swollen and infected,” Scott said.
Scott and Valdivia called 9-1-1 and within about 15 minutes a chopper crew from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department found their location.
Before he was hoisted to safety, Scott says Eric told them he had been lost for about two weeks, miraculously surviving freezing cold temperatures after losing his lighter.
He showed me the area where he was sleeping and the little home that he had built. He was pretty close to a creek and right under a flight path so he started camping out there hoping somebody would notice him and he said he had given up a few days prior.
But thanks to Scott and her boyfriend, Eric was rescued and taken to a hospital.
“He told us it was a Thanksgiving miracle and he offered us money, and we said no we don’t want to take your money,” she said.
Instead, Scott says they got something priceless: the satisfaction of helping someone in need, and an incredible story of survival that they can tell for a long time.
“I never thought that I would be that person to find a missing person so this very incredible. I’m just happy he seemed OK,” she said.
Scott says Eric told them he lives in Oceanside in San Diego County. She and Valdivia are hoping to connect with him once he recovers.