A Penticton, B.C., woman who was found alive in remote Nevada after being stranded for seven weeks is “doing remarkably well” and expected to make a full recovery.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Ken Dey — a spokesperson for St. Luke’s hospital in Twin Falls, Idaho, — said the prognosis for Rita Chretien, 56, is good.
“Rita, right now, remains in fair condition and the physicians treating her say she’s doing remarkably well. She’s had a small meal and is recovering well. Her outlook is very positive at this point,” he said.
“The doctors are very confident about a full recovery at this point.”
Rita and Albert Chretien, 59, were on their way to a trade show in Las Vegas when their 2000 Chevrolet Astro became stuck in mud on a logging road in Elko County in northeastern Nevada. They were last seen March 19 buying items at a gas station in Baker City, Ore.
On March 22, Albert Chretien set out on foot for help with a global positioning system. He told his wife he was walking to a state highway to try to find help. He hasn’t been seen since.
Hunters found Rita Chretien in the van on Friday afternoon. She was conscious and able to speak when she was found.
While the details of Rita Chretien’s ordeal over the past seven weeks are not clear, Twin Falls police spokesperson Luke Allen said she told her story to one of his detectives.
“She was sleeping, in and out of sleep for most of the trip. She woke up. They were then on a dirt road headed to some highway she thought was a short cut. They kept getting stuck. For two days they were getting stuck in their vehicle over and over again,” he said.
Family friend Dave Goertzen said that fits with what he knew of the couple.
“He [Albert] was an adventurer in the sense that he liked to explore when they were out driving sometimes … they would explore areas.”
Rita survived by eating what little trail mix and other food she had, then kept herself alive eating melted snow, her son Raymond Chretien told the Oregonian newspaper.
She lost about 30 pounds during the nearly 50 days she spent alone before a pair of ATV riders found her. When they gave her food, she vomited it up.
Chretien felt she was two or three days from death before she was rescued, according to her son.