Missing California woman with dementia survived for days trapped in SUV

A missing woman with dementia survived for six days trapped in a snow-covered SUV in the Northern California mountains — until she was rescued this week, local authorities said.

Paula Beth James, 68, vanished from her Oroville home on Jan. 9, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities were flying a search helicopter over the remote, mountainous community of Butte Meadows about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco Wednesday when a sergeant spotted a car matching the description of James’ Toyota 4Runner, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Paula Beth JamesPaula Beth JamesButte County Sheriff’s Office.

Once the pilot landed, two searchers got out and hiked to the SUV — located about 150 yards off the road and buried in the snow, authorities said.

To their disbelief, James was inside — alive.

Responders used a vehicle designed for traveling on snow to get to the stranded woman and bring her to a local hospital, where she is listed in stable condition.

In total, crews spent more than 100 hours searching for James, according to the sheriff’s office.

“It’s wonderful news and this is the outcome that we had all been hoping for,” Megan McMann, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, told The San Francisco Chronicle. “Especially with a storm coming in.”

With Post wires

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