Revelers Survive Frigid Night at Idaho Park
A late-night party at a Boise County, Idaho, hot springs last weekend was a blast for a group of Treasure Valley 20-somethings – until two people got separated from the group and spent the night wandering barefoot and half-naked through the snow, according to idahostatesman.com.
"I think it's a miracle they survived," Idaho State Police Trooper David Anthony said.
The woman and man who spent the night lost had to be carried out of the woods of Pine Flats campground, where one of their friends found them lying in the snow Sunday morning (Dec. 21). ISP did not release their names.
The woman told her rescuers she couldn't feel anything below her waist and was lying on the ground shaking. She was suffering advanced hypothermia.
"The guy was much more coherent than the girl," said Anthony, who was called to the campgrounds, located about 40 miles northeast of Boise. "He said he couldn't feel his feet."
A Boise County snowplow driver called for help at about 9 a.m. Sunday, after friends of the missing man and woman flagged him down as he was plowing Idaho 17.
Anthony said the group of six – four men and two women – were drinking alcohol while soaking in the Pine Flat hot springs Saturday night.
At some point, one of the men in the group, whose socks and shoes were wet, made a run for it back to their vehicle.
"He just took off running and left everybody behind, leaving these people stranded," Anthony said. "He had the one little LED flashlight."
Several members of the group were able to stumble their way through the snow back to the vehicle, where they apparently spent the night.
"I would speculate that they were intoxicated when they got back to the truck," Anthony said.
The two who couldn't find their way back were scantily clad and lucky to have survived a night of temperatures in the mid-20s, snow and wind gusts of 15 to 20 mph.
Anthony said the woman was wearing a jacket and nothing else – no socks, no shoes, no clothes. The snowplow driver found a blanket to wrap her in until an ambulance arrived.
The man was wearing only wet long-john pants and a glove on one foot; his toes were white from frostbite. Anthony believes he also may have had on a wet, icy jacket, which he took off when the snowplow driver gave him a dry coat.
Anthony tried to get the man to walk with him to meet emergency personnel, but the man said he couldn't walk.
"He said, 'I blew my knee out. … I was hiking all night,' " Anthony said. "I said, 'Dude, why didn't you just go back to the hot tub?' He said, 'I couldn't find the hot tub.' "
Anthony hoisted the man over his shoulders in a fireman's carry and hauled him up the snowy hillside to where the woman had been carried by one of her friends.
Both the man and woman were taken by ambulance to a Boise hospital for treatment. Anthony did not know the extent of their injuries.
He said panic, hypothermia and intoxication contributed to the bad choices that the group made Saturday night.