PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — A father and three children who vanished on a Christmas tree-cutting trip in the Northern California mountains were found alive Wednesday after huddling in a culvert for warmth during three days of heavy snowstorms.
“Our hearts are all full right now,” said Cory Stahl, who owns a pest control business where the father, Frederick Dominguez, works. “It’s a very merry Christmas now.”
A California Highway Patrol helicopter delivered the family to safety, the two youngest children brought out of the woods first. The father smiled at family and friends, who cheered as he and his 18-year-old son emerged from their helicopter.
The two younger children, ages 14 and 12, emerged from a rescue helicopter after being flown out of the mountains Wednesday afternoon. They stepped out of the chopper and were immediately enveloped in a cluster of well-wishers carrying heavy blankets.
Stahl closed his business so he and his employees could assist the search. The four family members suffered mild to moderate hypothermia and were being taken to a hospital but were otherwise fine, he said.
The four apparently survived by huddling in a culvert, CHP officer Joe Hagerty said.
Story says they left in clear weather but got caught in a storm that blew in later. Just another cautionary tale about cutting Christmas trees.