Rescue team finds missing elderly couple in Calif. forest

Clay Curtis
February 26, 2020

An academic couple who vanished during a getaway in the woods of Northern California coastline has been found by search-and-rescue workers who spent nearly a week looking for them and gave up hopes of finding them alive.

The successful rescue of Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin was looking grimmer by the day after the two vanished on a Valentine's Day hike together in the Inverness area.

They were unprepared for a prolonged hike or the chilly climate, when night temperatures dipped into the 30′s, and survived by consuming from a puddle, he said. "My mother said, 'you know I lost a shoe so I was walking with one shoe and then I lost the other shoe and I kept walking and then I walked in my socks and then I got exhausted of walking in my socks so then I was walking bare feet for a while.' And I'm just- you're 77 years-old", Irwin said.

Officials had said Friday that they deemed the efforts a "recovery mission", saying they believed their search efforts would have found them if they were responsive or reachable by foot.

"It got dark and they took a wrong turn and they found themselves in trouble", Jon Kiparsky, one of the couple's sons, told Today. "The survival of Carol and Ian is a miracle".

When volunteer searcher Rich Cassens got the call that the Marin County Sheriff's Office needed help in the search for a missing couple in the wilderness, he and his trusted canine Groot signed up to help.

Schneider said the couple were in "great spirits" Saturday.

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In these undated photos released by the Marin County Sheriff's Office are Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin.

"They also wanted to pass along their thanks to everyone who has been keeping them in their thoughts and all never losing hope", he said.

Ian Irwin, left, and Carol Kiparsky are seen recovering in a hospital in a photo released February 23, 2020, by the Marin County Sheriff's Office.

The couple, from Palo Alto, was last seen Valentine's Day, at their Airbnb rented cottage near Inverness, a town at the foot of the bay.

The couple heard rescue crews about half a mile from Pierce Point Road and began crying out for help from where they were stuck in a drainage ditch covered with thick vegetation.

Schneider says the vegetation in the area was so dense that one team spent almost two hours trying to crawl through it during the search. "Ian started singing when the helicopter arrived on scene", Schneider said.

Kiparsky is a prominent linguist and author of several books on language, including 1975's "The Gooficon: A Repair Manual for English".

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