Palo Alto couple found in wilderness after 8 days survived by drinking water from pond, eating vegetation

Bay Area

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin have been recovering at Marin General ever since their incredible rescue on Saturday, 8 days after they went missing in Inverness.

It’s an amazing story of survival – freezing temperatures, no food, no water.

Fortunately, the couple had each other to lean on and were quite resourceful.

Kiparsky and Irwin were found alive, yelling for help above a shallow beach near Tomales State Park, in a drainage.

It all started with a Valentine’s Day getaway in Inverness, but the Palo Alto couple got lost on a sunset walk that Friday night and never checked out of their bed and breakfast.

The Inverness wilderness isn’t a place you want to get lost. The vegetation is difficult to walk through and contains harmful plants like poison oak, berry vines, and lots of trees.

Hundreds of people spent countless hours searching for them every day since they went missing.

It wasn’t until Saturday when an 18-year-old volunteer and a K9 officer with search and rescue heard the two yelling for help, and that led to the rescue of the 77 and 72-year-olds.

Marin County search and rescue used a helicopter to get the couple out of the area.

The high school volunteer described how the couple reacted when they were found, saying “We get to them and ask, ‘What are your names?’ ‘Carol and Ian,’ (they replied). We’re amazed because they seem like they just got lost yesterday, “said Quincy Webster.

It’s an outcome no one saw coming as it seemed impossible to survive over a week stranded in the wilderness.

Even local authorities had later dubbed the search and rescue a mission a “recovery operation,” saying it was unlikely the two would be found alive.

Apparently, the couple survived by drinking water from a nearby pond, and eating edible vegetation.

Officials said Kiparsky does gardening so she is knowledgable of these things.

Family members say the couple is asking for privacy but in time the two will share their incredible story of survival.

They’re expected to be released from Marin General today.

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