A California woman and her newborn child have been rescued after a four-day ordeal in the woods.
Amber Pangborn, who was nine months pregnant, was driving in Oroville, Butte County, CA when she began going into labor. In need for help, Pangborn decided to take a shortcut through a back road in order to get to her parents’ house in time.
“I was told about this back road and people had shown it to me a few times but I’d never driven it myself,” Pangborn told CBS San Francisco.
Soon after, Panghorn found herself stranded on a remote road in the Plumas National Forest with an empty gas tank and no cell phone service. “There was no cell phone service, there was no…There was nothing. And the car was out of gas,” Pangborn said.
At 5 a.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2015, Pangborn gave birth to her daughter, Marissa, while in the woods.
Now, Pangborn had to struggle for her and her daughter’s survival. She only had four apples and a little bit of water. In addition, she was attacked by mosquitos and wasps. Pangborn did her best to protect her daughter.
“The meat bees came out and were trying to get the placenta. I was trying to get them not to sting her, and I got stung trying to keep them away from the baby. But they went into the placenta,” Panghorn said.
Pangborn was in a dire situation and needed to find a way out. She came up with a plan; on Saturday, June 27 Panghorn started a signal fire with a lighter and arsenal can. “The fire just went ‘whoosh’ and shot up the mountainside. “I was looking at Marissa … and I was like, ‘I think mommy just started a forest fire, honey.’”
The U.S. Forest Service fire detection system detected the fire, and hours later, a rescue helicopter found Pangborn and her daughter.
Pangborn was emotional and relieved to have been rescued. “I was just crying. I thought we were going to die. I was just so glad that someone had seen us and we were going to be OK.”