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by | Mar 4, 2019 | Breaking News, Government, News | 0 comments

Wilderness training may have played a role in the survival of two sisters, ages 5 and 8, who were found safe Sunday after spending 44 hours in California woods, police say.

Caroline Carrico, 5 and Leia Carrico, 8 were found Sunday less than two miles from their home in Humboldt County, according to County Sheriff William Honsal.

Two young sisters have been found alive after wandering away from their northern California home and spending two cold nights in the forest, according to their mother. 

Deputies believe they went out, possibly into a wooded area nearby, after their mother said they could not go outside for a walk. 

This was a multi-agency search including the U.S. Coast Guard canvassing the area day and night with teams using canine units and a Blackhawk helicopter to comb the thick woods near the girls’ home. 

The girls had last been seen at their home Friday afternoon and Honsal described their discovery close to Richardson Grove State Park about 10:30 a.m. local time Sunday as “a miracle.”

The sheriff’s department says they found granola bar wrappers in the woods. 

“We found some clues during the day that made us change our direction. We found granola bar wrappers and were able to confirm with the mom that yes those were granola bars that were bought in the last few days. The wrappers showed what direction they went in,” said Mike Fridley of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. 

“The information we gathered is that they were trained, through 4-H, for outdoor survival and we believe that that did play a part, but we’re only speculating right now.”

4-H is the largest youth development organization in the US. It offers programs such as camping and hands-on projects in areas like science, health and agriculture.

The Carrico sisters told first responders they had gotten lost following a deer trail and survived by drinking water from huckleberry leaves, CNN affiliate KRCR-TV reported.

Honsal said Piercy Fire Chief Delbert Crumley and firefighter Abram Hill located the pair after following tracks in the search area about 1.4 miles south of the girls’ home.

The girls were found “in good spirits, not injured,” he said. “The initial assessment was that they were dehydrated, they were cold — but they were well.”

Honsal said first responders provided them with fresh warm clothes and water.

Lt. Mike Fridley was given the task of informing the girls’ mother that they had been found. “She melted on the phone, we had to hang up because she couldn’t talk,” Fridley told reporters.

Kate Larsen, a reporter with CNN affiliate KGO-TV, posted a photo to Twitter of the two girls eating pizza in a hospital Sunday night.

“Their Mom told me they hid in a Huckleberry bush and lost their voices yelling for help until rescuers found them this AM,” Larsen wrote.

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