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Pennsylvania mother ate twigs, drank own urine on a journey to save the family, sister says

Karen Small

(Fox 29)

Pennsylvania mother survived more than a day in the cold wilderness outside the Grand Canyon last weekend by eating the branches, and drink her own urine in a desperate attempt to seek help after she and her family got stuck on a snowy road.

Kristen Haase, the sister of Karen Klein, of Palmer Township, the bold attempt in an e-mail to Philly.com. Haase said Karen Klein, her husband Eric, and their 10-year-old son Isaac away from Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah to the Grand Canyon National Park north rim for a sightseeing adventure.

However, things began to turn south when the road became covered with snow. Haase said they turned to their rent a car to go back when she got stuck in a ditch.

Haase said Karen Klein decided to make the trip back to the main road – about 10 km away – an attempt to flag someone down or mobile phone reception. When Small made it to the highway, it was closed due to the snow storm. They saw a sign for the entrance of the Grand Canyon park that said it was only 14 miles away, so she decided to move along.

Start small to be exposed to the elements and the stocks of food and water. Haase said that’s when they turned to twigs, and her own urine to stay hydrated. Haase added that Small walked for almost 30 km 30 hours at a stretch, and, eventually, find an empty booth and a couple of blankets and try to stay warm.

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That is when the rescue of the crew that were looking for the family Small, and then the rest of her family. They were all treated for frostbite and released from a local hospital.

Jim Driscoll, chief deputy for Coconino County, called the rescue a “Christmas miracle.”

“Our guys are in the clouds. This is a save,” Driscoll said of the searchers. “We were able to get a family back together for Christmas. It could have gone very bad very, very easily.”

Karen Klein is an assistant biology professor at Northampton Community College. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Cedar Crest College and a master’s degree from East Stroudsburg University.

Haase said that her sister has wilderness survival-training – for-the – something that no doubt helped her through the whole ordeal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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