Robert Ringo survived 40 hours in the desert by eating juniper berries

By Rachel DeSantis
July 23, 2020 11:52 AM
Advertisement
Credit: Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

A California man was rescued from the desert heat after a painful injury left him stranded in Joshua Tree National Park for nearly two days.

Robert Ringo was hiking last week when he fell and broke his femur as he explored Quail Mountain, ABC affiliate KESQ reported.

“I started trying to at least turn over so I could get onto my back and when I did, it was just unbelievable pain,” he said.

He waited, and decided to record video of himself as he relied on juniper berries and the two liters of water he’d packed with him to survive. In the clips, Ringo can be heard yelling for help, and explaining that this is the first time in his life he’s had no saliva.

Ringo said he was unable to call for help because there was no cell service, which he knew would be the case ahead of time, according to the BBC. For that reason, he’d tagged his location and shared it with his son Ryan before he left.

His family launched an unsuccessful search for him on Friday, but eventually, he was found by officials 40 hours later, on Saturday morning, KESQ reported.

A spokesperson for the National Park Service confirmed the rescue to PEOPLE, and said deputies used canine, tracking and ground search units in their hunt.

Ringo was eventually found via helicopter in "good spirits," and was stabilized and transported to the hospital.

The spokesperson said that at the time of Ringo's fall, the park was experiencing temperatures as high as 110 degrees, which sparked a "rapid" response to find him quickly.

“I’m just so grateful because, I mean, if I had never been found, it would’ve been devastating for my family,” he told KCBS. “I have a very large family.”

Ringo — who said he looks forward to hitting the trails again as soon as his leg is healed — never wavered in his belief that he would make it out alive.

“I never got to the point where I thought, ‘I’m not going to make this,’” he said, according to KESQ. “I just had a confidence and a faith.”