Rescued Gardnerville Woman Begged Her Boyfriend Not to Leave their Stranded Jeep
The woman who survived for six days after being stranded in her car on a secluded forest road during a snowstorm spoke for the first time since the ordeal.
Paula Lane, 46, recalled the emotional moment when her boyfriend Roderick Clifton left their car to get help, saying that she warned him not to head out into the storm but he dismissed her pleas.
'It's 9.09 in the morning, I remember looking at my watch and I said please just wait, let's ride this out together. It's the smarter (thing), and he just went like this with his hand I that's the last time I saw him,' she said during an appearance on The Today Show, gesturing as Clifton did when he headed out for help.
'I knew I was never going to see him again.'
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Saved: Paula Lane, 46, was found by her brother but her boyfriend Roderick Clifton, 44, died days earlier
Mother of two: Lane has twin 11-year-old sons, and her sister began to prepare them for the worst
Key tool: Paula's brother Gary and his friend borrowed this front loader to help them search for her when the roads were blocked due to a snowstorm
Gone: Roderick Clifton, 44, was found dead miles from his Jeep after he and his girlfriend went off-roading inthe Sierra Nevada mountains and were trapped by a snowstorm
Paula remained in the vehicle for two more days, surviving on a package of green tomatoes and snow. She was not dressed for cold weather and had to use tissues and tape to make socks.
Her said doctor that she survived by eating tomatoes and snow and huddling in a hollow tree for warmth at night.
Lane, who has 11-year-old twin sons, was finally discovered by her brother when he heard her whistling loudly as she was crawling towards the highway for help.
'I'd seen her in many different looks in her life and that look right there, that's the best one I'd ever seen,' her brother Gary Lane said of when he finally found his younger sister.
Gary and his friend borrowed a front loader that is typically used on construction sites, and they searched throughout the wooded Sierra Nevadas near a campground that Paula used to frequent.
Though she is currently recovering from frostbite and malnutrition in a local hospital, much of her recovery will be emotional after her boyfriend died when he was trying to save them.
The couple spent the first stranded night together in their car, but Clifton insisted on leaving for help the next morning.
Lucky to be alive: Paula Lane was missing for six days before she was found crawling along a road in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Mystery: Authorities are still unsure of Clifton's cause of death
It is believed the couple took their Jeep off-roading when they became stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains somewhere off Highway 88/89 on November 29.
Because of limited cell service in the high altitudes, authorities were unable to track their phones.
Clifton left the jeep on November 30 in an effort to seek help but he never returned. His body was discovered on Wednesday, several miles away from the highway. He is survived by three daughters.
Survivor: It was Paula Lane's brother Gary, left, who found her. She is being treated at a nearby hospital but is expected to survive without injury
When her boyfriend failed to return, Lane waited in the vehicle until Monday when she decided to set out to look for him.
She told rescuers she found his body as she tried to make her way to the highway.
A massive manhunt had been launched on December 1 to search for the pair and her brother, Gary Lane, had rented a front loader and was patrolling the roadway.
'It's been a rough haul, waiting all those days, trying to know if she'd made it or not,' Lane's older sister, Linda Hathaway, said at a news conference on Thursday at Carson Tahoe Regional Hospital, where Lane was admitted for first-degree frostbite and malnourishment, according to ABC News.
Lane is the mother of 11-year-old twin sons and Hathaway said they had prepared the boys for the worst.
Location: Mr Clifton and Ms Lane were traveling to their Gardnerville, Nevada, home from Mr Clifton's mother's house in Citrus Heights, California
Searching: After spending a day in the Jeep, Clifton went off on his own to find help
In an amazing turn of events, Paula Lane was found on Wednesday crawling in the snow by her brother, who knew that his sister liked to camp out in the area.
'She is mighty and she's a survivor and loves life,' Hathaway said about her sister's strength amidst the terrifying ordeal.
Lane's attending physician, Dr. Vijay Maiya, said the woman told him that she sought shelter 'hiding out in a hollow tree,' in addition to eating the tomatoes the couple had packed in the car with them.
She also said she ate snow to try and stay hydrated.
'She is medically stable. She's recovering nicely,' Maiya said at the news conference.
He said the woman's road to recovery will include 25 per cent of physical recovery and the remaining 75 per cent will be overcoming the emotional trauma of the event.