A Missing Hiker Was Finally Rescued On Her 75th Birthday

A hiker in Washington just received the birthday gift of a lifetime: More life to live. Jung VanAtta went missing while hiking, but luckily she was discovered safe and sound on her 75th birthday.

missing hiker

VanAtta went mushroom picking in Skamania County with an 87-year-old friend on Oct. 12.

When VanAtta didn’t return from hiking, a rescue effort began to find her. Family friend Karin Osgood told KOIN 6 News, “We were all praying and just to give her some guidance and some hope that we are out there looking for her.”

On October 14th,  the team found a bag of freshly-picked mushrooms and a trash bag with a receipt in it. That was their clue that VanAtta was in the nearby area. The next day her rescue began.

The thick vegetation in the area made it difficult for rescuers to see anything. But VanAtta’s cries for help allowed them to follow the sound of her voice. When they found her, they said she appeared weak but in stable condition. That evening, she was taken to the hospital for treatment.

VanAtta is celebrating her birthday by also celebrating her rescue.

The Skamania County sheriff even brought the family a cupcake to celebrate both her birthday and her rescue. “What a great birthday gift,” her daughter, Sue Wong, said. She also described how her mom survived for four days on her own, explaining, “She said she would sing songs and keep hitting those sticks and keep moving. We knew nothing could keep her down and if she could move, she would.”

Osgood added, “We know God’s hand was in this,” Karin Osgood said. “I’m astounded that she survived and this was a happy ending because we were ready the other. We are all ecstatic.”

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Sarah Halle Corey

Written by Sarah Halle Corey