Kids Rescue Dad Missing for Six Days in a Ravine
The LaVau family is talking to INSIDE EDITION about their father, David LaVau, who may be both the luckiest and the unluckiest man alive:
"My father had been screaming for six days," said daughter Chardonnay LaVau.
He was unlucky enough to have gone missing for six days after driving his car off a 200-foot ravine, but lucky enough to have children who kept searching for him, even after everybody else had given up hope!
"He said, 'One more night of this and I don't think I could have done it,' " daughter Lisa LaVau said.
LaVau, a 67-year-old retiree, lost control of his car on a treacherous mountain road in California's Angeles National Forest, 50 miles north of Los Angeles.
The LaVau children reported him missing and authorities searched for days, to no avail. But the children refused to believe their missing dad was dead, and spearheaded the search.
They traced his cell phone calls and a debit card purchase he'd made at a grocery store, then systematically searched every ravine in the area. On the sixth day, they found him!
"He said, 'Help!' I mean it was him and we looked at each other and we knew it was him. Immediately, Sean was screaming for him, trying to get down there," said a family friend.
Rescuers rushed to the scene and the LaVau children were hauled back up to the road with the help of ropes. There were happy hugs all around.
"I looked down and I saw my brother's face and he said, 'He's alive, Dad's alive!' " Chardonnay said.
LaVau suffered broken ribs, broken vertebrae, and a broken arm. He kept himself alive by drinking water from a stream and eating leaves and grubs.
Anticipating the worst, LaVau had scratched a heartbreaking final message on the hood of his car:
"I love my kids. It's not my fault."
In a tragic twist, LaVau's blue car landed next to another wrecked car, which contained the decomposing body of a driver who'd gone off the ravine long before LaVau.
LaVau was airlifted to a nearby hospital, and is expected to make a full recovery thanks to a loving family that never gave up hope.
"I said, 'Dad, did you think that we wouldn't find you?' And he said, 'I knew you would,' " Lisa told INSIDE EDITION.
After David LaVau was rescued, firefighters stayed in the area searching to make sure no other victims were in the ravine. The identity of the victim in the other wrecked car has not been made public, but was first reported missing back on September 14th.