Lost California woman gives birth in woods, rescued after four days

A California woman and her newborn survived a four-day ordeal in the woods after getting stuck on a remote road with no cellphone service.

Pregnant hiker Amber Pangborn gave birth in the woods. NBC News imagePregnant hiker Amber Pangborn gave birth in the woods. NBC News image
Pregnant hiker Amber Pangborn gave birth in the woods. NBC News image

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. (MEDIA GENERAL) – A California woman gave birth in the woods and survived a four-day ordeal after a shortcut turned into a big mistake.

Amber Pangborn told CBS San Francisco she went into labor and started driving toward her parents’ house. She decided to take a shortcut she had heard about to save time, but instead ended up stranded on a remote road with no cellphone service and car with an empty gas tank.

She gave birth to a baby girl around 5 a.m. Thursday, June 25, 2015. According to Pangborn, she had limited supplies: four apples and a small amount of water. During the ordeal, she had to fight off mosquitoes and wasps.

“The meat bees came out and were trying to get the placenta,” Pangborn said. “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.”

On Saturday, Pangborn managed to start a signal fire with a lighter and an aerosol can. The plan worked: The fire was picked up by the U.S. Forest Service fire detection system.

“The fire just went ‘whoosh’ and shot up the mountainside,” Pangborn told CBS San Francisco. “I was looking at Marissa … and I was like, ‘I think mommy just started a forest fire, honey.’”

Within hours, a rescue helicopter discovered Pangborn and her daughter, Marissa.

“I was just crying. I thought we were going to die,” Pangborn said. “I was just so glad that someone had seen us and we were going to be OK.”

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