David Sewell was "conscious and talking" when searchers found him, officials said
A 76-year-old legally blind man was found on Tuesday morning, three days after he went missing in Joshua Tree National Park.
David Sewell of Joshua Tree, California, was “conscious and talking when searchers made contact with him,” the National Park Service said in a press release on Tuesday.
“It’s a miracle… He was awake, conscious and talking to rescuers when they found him,” park spokesman George Land told the Los Angeles Times. “He had been up there for about three days without water.”
Sewell’s medical condition was not immediately clear after he was evacuated by helicopter to the Quail Springs parking lot “due to the distance and nature of the terrain” in the park, officials said. Sewell was later transported by ambulance to a hospital in Palm Springs, the NPS said.
According to officials, Sewell left the Quail Spring parking lot on Saturday for an unspecified location in Johnny Lang Canyon. Around 8 p.m. that night, a note he left behind in his car said that he departed at 8:45 a.m. and that he would need assistance if he was not back by Sunday.
When officials reached his daughter over the phone, she indicated that her father had numerous health issues and was legally blind, the NPS said.
“Search and rescue personnel started operations on Monday at 6:45 am,” the NPS said in a statement during the search on Monday, adding that the effort involved “approximately 50 searchers, two K-9 teams as well as fixed and rotary wing air support from California Highway Patrol.”