A senior at Arizona State University who had been missing for 10 days survived on candy and melted snow until she was found on Wednesday, authorities reported.
Though she was cold and hungry, Lauren Elizabeth Weinberg, 23, was discovered to be in good condition despite having been stuck in her vehicle for more than a week.
According to myFOXphoenix, U.S. Forest Service employees accidentally came across the missing student when they were checking the gates on remote forest roads.
Weinberg was last seen on Dec. 11 in Phoenix, when she left her mother’s home and decided to drive the north and eastern parts of the state.
She, however, traveled during what authorities called the worst possible time, with a massive winter storm moving into the area a day after she began her journey.
Though she had driven on a paved road out of Winslow, it soon became a dirt road that was blanketed in snow. Her car became stuck in the snow soon after when she attempted to move a gate upon approaching a fence line.
Sitting in her car for days, all that Weinberg had were two candy bars and a bottle of water. Though she had a cellphone with her, the battery was dead.
She rationed her candy bars and packed the water bottle with snow after she ran out of drinking water, melting the frozen ice on the hood of her car so it could become drinkable.
Authorities and weather forecasters have been calling her survival remarkable, given the harsh conditions. Weinberg did not have any warm coats or blanket with her, unprepared for the cold. Some nights even reached near zero temperatures.
“It’s pretty harrowing that she’d been there since the 12th in an area that’s totally foreign to her,” Sheriff’s spokesman Gerry Blair told The Associated Press.
“We’re certainly very happy that we found her, and we found her alive.”
Weinberg was taken to the Flagstaff Medical Center after she was discovered, reporting no major injuries.
“I am so thankful to be alive and warm,” Weinberg said, according to a Flagstaff spokesman. “Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers, because they worked.”
“There were times I was afraid but mostly I had faith I would be found.”
Chris Outler of the National Weather Service in Flagstaff told Fox News that she was very lucky to be alive. Just a few days earlier, an elderly New Mexico woman died after getting lost on a similar forest road in eastern Arizona with her husband.
Though the two had survived two winter storms for five days, the woman died after the couple tried to hike to safety.
Weinberg was released from the hospital early Thursday.