A Yuba City couple missing in snowy El Dorado County since Sunday were found in their snowbound SUV by searchers on Monday afternoon.
Rory and Susan Holloter, both in their 60s, were ferried to safety on snowmobiles. Both were in good condition, said Sheriff’s Department department spokeswoman Sgt. Tasha Thompson.
They were brought back to a command center on Wentworth Springs Road late Monday afternoon where they were reunited with waiting family members.
As soon as they arrived, Susan’s sister, Sondra Winberry, grabbed her for a hug. Susan then asked for her son, Dustin Cudd, who told her “No more four-wheel driving for you,” as he went in for a hug.
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“You’re the only person I wanted to see the entire time,” Susan said as she hugged him tightly.
“We weren’t planning on being stuck,” Susan Holloter said to family members and reporters at the command center. The couple had a sleeping bag along with some food and water but “we started to panic a little bit today,” she said.
She added that she was so glad to be rescued and was looking forward to a shower.
The couple were found on a forest service road, 14N05, off Wentworth Springs Road. It’s just outside of El Dorado County into the tip of Placer County, Thompson said.
The Holloters had not been heard from since Sunday, when they sent a text message about 12:50 p.m. saying they were stuck in the snow. The couple had last been seen about 9 a.m. Saturday.
After the text, the Sheriff’s Department was not able to connect with the Holloters. It could have been that there was no cellphone coverage in the area where they were stranded or that their phone battery had lost its charge, Thompson said.
There also was a chance that the lack of communication was the result of a Verizon cellphone tower being down in the area, Thompson said.
El Dorado County sheriff’s officials searched until nightfall Sunday near Ice House and Wentworth roads, a wooded area between Loon Lake and Union Valley Reservoir. Deputies were assisted by California Highway Patrol aircraft. The search resumed at daybreak Monday.
The couple were driving a Dodge Ramcharger, a large sport-utility vehicle, when it apparently became stuck in the snow. About 25 people searched for the couple, including personnel from the Placer County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team.
CHP air support was grounded due to bad weather in the mountains as personnel on the ground searched 50 square miles.