The successful rescue of Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin was looking grimmer by the day after the two vanished on a Valentine's Day hike together in the Inverness area. But after a week-long search for the couple, both were found alive yesterday.
Various news outlets — KRON4, SFGate, ABC7, etc. — shared the unexpected, joyous update on the MIA Palo Alto couple yesterday, the Marin County Sheriff's Office tweeting a photo of the couple recovering at Marin Health from minor scrapes, bruises, and mild cases of hypothermia — though giving "thumbs-ups," despite the fact that Carol was found sans shoes; Ian was even reported singing when the Sonoma Sheriff’s helicopter came.
Update from Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin. They are in great spirits and want to thank every single person who has kept them in their thoughts.— Marin County Sheriff (@MarinSheriff) February 23, 2020
On behalf of the Irwin and Kiparsky family, Thank You. pic.twitter.com/t3OS6rgas7
“This is a miracle,” Sargent Brenton Schneider, a spokesman for the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, said at a news conference Saturday afternoon in Inverness, according to The Chronicle.
77-year-old Carol Kiparsky (a trained herbalist and retired linguist) and 72-year-old Ian Irwin (who's background includes mountaineering and is also a Parkinson's disease researcher) were found in a drainage area surrounded by “insanely thick” verdure at around 10 a.m. Saturday. Some 400 to 500 people — a gaggle of volunteers, seasoned rescue teams, and other local, state, and national first-responders — were involved in the seve-day-long search which utilized an airplane, helicopter, boats, horses, drones and a K9 team to seek out and extract the lost twosome. Kiparsky and Irwin were liberated only a few miles from their rented cottage on Via de la Vista in the Seahaven-Inverness area where their trudge started.
How did they survive for such a long time? Schneider believes they're alive because of both situational savvy and environmental luck: “The reason they are most likely alive is they were drinking from a puddle they found near where they were located."
That, and "chivalry" had a part in their endurance. "[Ian] was laying his body flat into that awful thorny crap, which poison oak, you name it, so that Carol could go over him," Irwin said. "That's chivalry like I hope that's still alive."
Both Irwin and Kiparsky are expected to make full recoveries, news their sons, Jon Kiparsky and Jonas Irwin, were elated to learn.
Image: Twitter via @MarinSheriff