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New Mexico camper found after 5 weeks

From the Associated Press

A camper who became stranded nearly five weeks ago in a national forest because she could not cross a swollen river was rescued Sunday, more than two weeks after the search for her was called off.

A New Mexico National Guard crew waded across the icy Gila River to rescue a dehydrated and weak Carolyn Dorn of South Carolina, who entered the Gila National Forest alone Dec. 6 for a two-week trip.

She was found Friday by hikers Albert and Peter Kottke. The brothers realized Dorn was too weak to get out of the wilderness with them and left her Tang, almonds, dried apples, soup and cheese. They also filled her water bottles and left her a book -- Michael Connelly’s “Chasing the Dime.”

The brothers hiked 20 miles over the next day and a half, then hitchhiked into Silver City, where they contacted the National Guard. “We got her prepared to spend another couple of nights while we went upstream to get help,” Albert Kottke said Sunday from his parents’ home in St. Paul, Minn.

Dorn was hospitalized in Silver City and should be fine, said search and rescue coordinator Frankie Benoist of Silver City. Her condition was not released.

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She had planned to camp for two weeks. But five days into her trip, it rained and snowed and the Gila River rose, trapping her, Benoist said.

Temperatures have dropped into the low teens overnight in recent weeks, according to the National Weather Service.

Dorn’s car was spotted 2 1/2 weeks after she left and was reported to authorities. Benoist said her group conducted an intensive search from Dec. 24 to 26, “but we never considered that she traveled so far” into the forest.


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