3 Members of Missing Family Found Alive

MERLIN, Ore. (AP) — Unwilling to wait any longer, James Kim left his wife and two young children in their frozen, snowbound car and set off into the wilderness to seek help, wearing only tennis shoes, a sweater and a jacket. Now he is the one who needs help.

A helicopter spotted his wife, Kati Kim, 30, waving an umbrella Monday afternoon. She and her daughters Penelope, 4, and Sabine, 7 months, were airlifted to a hospital and are in good condition.

The fate of her husband is unknown. Trained dogs, horse patrols and a helicopter with heat-seeking capability were to join other helicopters, snowmobiles and foot patrols Tuesday for the 35-year-old. Trackers followed his footprints until dark Monday night.

The family said James Kim left the snow-stuck car in southwestern Oregon at about 7:45 a.m. Saturday and went the way they had come for help, saying he would return by 1 p.m. if he found none. He didn’t.

His family said he had outdoor experience, and Oregon State Police Lt. Doug Ladd said there is “a very reasonable chance” that he is still alive. The San Francisco family reported that he had eaten berries in the area, but they weren’t sure if they were poisonous.

Before he left, the four huddled together as a family for warmth and ran the car at night until they ran out of gas. Officials said some of the tires were burned as signal fires to attract attention, but before helicopters joined the search. Kati Kim nursed both children while they were lost.

Temperatures in the region have been below freezing, with lows in the mid-20s to mid-30s. The National Weather Service predicted patchy fog in the valleys overnight, as well as light winds.

Searchers said they picked up a “ping” from the Kims’ cell phone that guided them to the general area where the family eventually was found, and that it was key to their discovery. The region is remote enough to be generally out of cell phone range.

The family saw friends in Portland on Nov. 25 and then headed toward home after a Thanksgiving trip to the Pacific Northwest. They were last spotted at a restaurant that same day. They had reservations at a lodge, but never arrived.

During the past several days, authorities combed highways and byways using snow machines and helicopters. Troopers checked hotels and resorts along the south coast. They also tried to track the family by tracing their credit history and cell phone signals.

Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings said a detective interviewed Mrs. Kim, who said they had intended to take Oregon 42, the usual route from Interstate-5 to the south Oregon coast, but missed the turnoff, found Bear Camp Road on the map and decided to take it instead of turning back. Their car was 15 miles from Bear Camp Road when found.

The complicated network of roads in the area are commonly used by whitewater rafters on the Rogue River or as shortcuts to Gold Beach in the summer but are not plowed in winter and can be impassable despite being touted as a convenient alternate route.

James Kim is a senior editor for CNET Networks in San Francisco who covers digital audio and co-hosts a weekly video podcast for the Crave gadgets blog on CNET.

The couple owns two boutiques in San Francisco – Doe, a clothing store on lower Haight Street, and the Church Street Apothecary in Noe Valley sells baby goods and skin care products.

“Mom arrived in an ambulance smiling and waving,” said Linda Rankin, vice president for patient care at the Three Rivers Community Hospital in Grants Pass, told The Associated Press Monday evening.

Friends and co-workers of the couple in San Francisco celebrated the news of the rescue Monday and said they continued to hope for James Kim’s safe return.

“We are extremely relieved that they have found Kati and the kids,” said Sarah Cain, spokeswoman for CNET Networks Inc. “We are cautiously optimistic and hopeful that it will bring more good news about James and his family.”

Boutique employee Sarah Gion called Kati Kim “a fighter, especially where her two daughters were concerned.”

“If anyone could make it through nine days in the wilderness, it would be Kati,” Gion said. “We have good faith that they’ll find James, too. We’re all ecstatic, even though we’re still waiting.”


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