Lost Hiker's SOS Sign May Have Saved Her Life

Mary Joanna Gomez, 56, was missing for days in Sequoia National Park
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2019 11:27 AM CDT

A traveling nurse who was missing for days in a California national park has been found thanks to the SOS sign she constructed out of rocks and tree bark. Mary Joanna Gomez, 56, was found in steep terrain some 3.5 miles from the nearest trail in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks on Monday, reports the Visalia Times-Delta. The Mississippi woman, on assignment in the Bay Area, had sent photos of the park to her daughter on Thursday, her day off, before missing a Friday work shift. A massive search ensued, resulting in the discovery of Gomez's car near the Little Baldy trail early Sunday.

But no trace of Gomez was found until Monday, when a California Air National Guard aircraft spotted an SOS sign from the air, per CNN. Rescuers were then able to reach Gomez's location on foot. "I am profoundly thankful to the National Park Service who worked tirelessly to rescue me and were so very kind when they did," she tells KFSN. "I am hungry, a little dehydrated, and I have cuts and bruises, but I'm very fortunate to be in as good a condition as I am." (Another SOS sign saved a different woman.)

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