- Two Maine women went out for a walk on the Main Mall on February 21.
- The women got lost and then their vehicle got stuck in the snow on an unpaved road.
- He spent several days inside the SUV before being rescued on Sunday.
Two Maine women spent days trapped in a snow-covered SUV as temperatures plunged to -15 degrees before search crews found them safe this week.
Tosham Police Chief Mark Hagen said Kimberly Pushard and Angela Bussell were headed to the Main Mall on February 21, about 30 miles from where they live in Tosham, Maine.
The women were traveling in a red 2012 Jeep Compass when they became lost and became the subject of a warning for missing vulnerable adults. The SUV eventually got stuck in deep snow, forcing the women to spend several nights inside the truck.
Officers were able to obtain video from local businesses as the women stopped on their travels and were able to track their cell phone movement.
On Sunday, a warden from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife found the women inside an SUV on an empty road.
He was taken to a hospital for medical evaluation. Bussell was released from the hospital Sunday night and is back home. Hagan said as of Tuesday afternoon, Pushard was still hospitalized.
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What happened to the women?
Hagan said the women called their families around 2:30 a.m. on February 21, saying they were lost.
“They were down in Massachusetts,” he said. “The family apparently turned them around and they headed north again.”
Along the way, he asked several people for directions, including a man who helped him when he ran out of gas, and an officer in Exeter, New Hampshire, who gave him directions.
He also called police dispatchers before his phone died.
At some point, they met a New Hampshire state police officer, who followed them onto I-95, Hagen said.
But when the women did not return home even on the morning of 22 February, the family approached the Tosham police.
Topsham police contacted authorities in New Hampshire, who pinged the phone and saw that the women were near a town called Candia, Hagen said. New Hampshire State Police a Missing Vulnerable Adult Alert For the women, whom the police said had an intellectual disability.
Officials say finding women was difficult due to mobility
Hagen estimates that the women covered at least 300 miles in their journey and says that tracking them was difficult because they were so mobile.
Aaron Cross, a lieutenant in the Maine Warden Service, said the women traveled over a wide area in just a few days. Because some of the roads are difficult to access, the Warden Service used snowmobiles and even an aircraft to locate them.
Game warden Brad Richard was on a snowmobile and was tasked with checking roads and trails for the missing women.
“He rode a snowmobile about 90 miles that day, covering a variety of roads,” Cross said.
As of 4 p.m. on February 26, he still had a few trails to check. They found a snowmobile trail with a steep turn and saw vehicle marks that looked like they were covered by a recent snowfall.
Then he got the SUV.
Cross said, “They got off on the snowmobile trail and they ended up on an unplowed forest road.” “That’s where their vehicle finally got stuck…the vehicle was almost completely covered in snow.”
Richard called out to see if anyone was inside and after about five seconds the door opened. When he asked one of the occupants if her name was Kim, she replied “How do you know my name?”
Richard tells Pushard that everyone was looking for him.
By this point, the women were very cold and the soda bottle in their vehicle was completely frozen. The warden who found them needed to find a phone signal to call for help, but he left them with food left in their bags.
Officials say women are very lucky
Cross said these situations often have tragic consequences as people panic and abandon their vehicles to head into the woods.
Taking the elements can be dangerous.
“They stayed with the vehicle … they were able to at least have shelter and some degree of warmth or place, at least out of the air, to hunker down,” he said.
He also said that technology is helpful in these situations as it can aid in searches, be it phones, watches or GPS systems.
“Take a call,” said Cross. “Keep it on. Keep it close to them. Make sure you have a charger … It’s a big piece of the puzzle when we have phone coordinates that we can turn off and we can make sure people Can track that we know where we have to go Put the searcher.”
Saleen Martin is a reporter with the USA TODAY NOW team. He’s from Norfolk, Virginia , 757 , and likes all things horror, witches, Christmas, and food. follow him on twitter @sleen_martin or email him [email protected],