“I felt we could die and I kept telling myself we are not going to die here.”
Those were the thoughts going through 18-year-old Maia Herman-Kitami’s head when she and her boyfriend got stuck in the Mendocino National Forrest in California last weekend.
She and Carlos Hernandez Jr., 21, from San Francisco, had gotten their yellow Jeep stuck in the snow while on a winter camping trip. They were miles from civilization with no cell service and eventually became stranded for five days.
Even though Herman-Kitami was an experienced camper, it was her first time seeing snow.
“We were cold, miserable, hungry and thirsty,” she told Inside Edition.
They tried digging themselves out and put chains on their car, but when a storm came just a day later, they realized it would be impossible to get themselves out.
“There was that fear, what if there is another storm?” Herman-Kitami said. “Or what if they stop looking for us because they can’t find us?”
A dedicated band of volunteers out searching for the couple in their snowmobiles were about to call it a day, but Ron Lovell and his son-in-law Jason Logan decided to go a little further and spotted the yellow Jeep.
“I saw this guy in his snowsuit,” Herman-Kitami said. “Honestly, it felt like a dream.”
“They were in high spirits," Logan added.
He said the couple was joking immediately as they spotted their rescuers and were successfully towed to safety shortly after.