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69-year-old mushroom picker survives 3 days, 2 nights lost in snowy conditions

CURRY COUNTY -- A mushroom picker lost for three days and two nights was found alive and well Thursday morning in Curry County.

69-year-old Sokhan Oul of Portland was located after a Cal Ore Life Flight helicopter and the Curry County Sheriff spotted a small plume of smoke in the Mt. Emily drainage about a half mile from where she was last seen.

Oul was reported missing to the sheriff’s office Tuesday evening after two friends had not seen her since 1 p.m. that day.

Curry County Search and Rescue members arrived on scene about seven miles east (on the 1107 Road) from the North Bank of the Chetco River Road. They discovered Oul had disappeared on a spur road.

SAR members drove the roads throughout the night trying sound sweeps with horns and sirens, police said.

The search continued Wednesday on the skid roads with quads and into the area where Oul was last seen. By nightfall, there was still no sign of Oul.

Police say it was snowing and about 32 degrees.

A call was placed for additional resources from CORSAR (California, Oregon Regional Search and Rescue).

At 8 a.m. Thursday, Curry County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue along with small SAR teams from Siskiyou, Jackson, Josephine, Del Norte, and Coos counties, including K-9 teams, began a grid search of several areas.

At about 10:20 a.m., while searching the entire Mt. Emily drainage from the air, helicopter pilot Dan Brattain and Sheriff John Ward spotted the plume of smoke above the trees in a heavily wooded and steep area.

The coordinates were radioed back to base camp and search teams were able to find Oul standing by a fire she had made to keep herself warm.

Search crews transported her back to base camp.

She said she started a fire by using some of her clothing and a lighter to help stay warm. When she heard the helicopter, she piled brush onto the fire to make more smoke, police said.

"I want to thank everyone involved in the search for Sokhan Oul, especially CORSAR and Dan Brattain of Cal Ore Life Flight," Sheriff John Ward said. "Without Dan, we may have not found Oul when we did."

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