MERLIN, Ore. — Searchers scouring a rugged canyon Tuesday found a pair of pants matching the description of those worn by a missing man who struck out for help after his family’s car got stuck in the snow.
A helicopter with heat-sensing equipment joined other helicopters, snowmobiles and foot patrols Tuesday in the hunt for 35-year-old James Kim of San Francisco. His wife and two daughters were found Monday after being lost for more than a week.
Searchers found the pants Tuesday afternoon.
“It could be a sign he’s trying to indicate the path he was going,” Lt. Gregg Hastings of the Oregon State Police.
Officials said it appeared Kim was within 5 miles of the car he’d left Saturday morning wearing only tennis shoes, pants, a sweater and a jacket. Trackers had followed his footprints until dark Monday night.
Searchers said he had headed downhill and apparently walked out of an area covered with snow toward the Rogue River. Search and rescue teams checked the river with rafts Tuesday.
Kim — whose family told rescuers he had some outdoor experience and had eaten berries while stranded, not knowing if they were poisonous — took two lighters with him when he left the car, Anderson said. “Maybe he got a fire going,” he said at a news conference.
Overnight temperatures in the region have been in the mid 20s to mid 30s. The National Weather Service predicted patchy fog in the valleys during the night with light wind.
Rest of family found on Monday
A helicopter crew spotted his wife, Kati Kim, 30, waving an umbrella Monday afternoon. She and her daughters Penelope, 4, and Sabine, 7 months, were flown to a hospital in Grants Pass and were in good condition.
Video: Relieved parents They were in very good condition Tuesday and Sabine was expected to be released from the hospital, said Linda Rankin, vice president for patient care at Three Rivers Community Hospital.
Kati Kim might lose one toe because of the cold, her father, Dr. Phil Fleming, told The Associated Press on Tuesday as he and his wife, Sandy, awaited a flight to Oregon from Albuquerque, N.M. He said his daughter breast-fed the two children to keep them nourished during the ordeal and “the children are doing extraordinarily well.”
“You think about a soldier being killed or an individual in a car accident, and you often time wonder how difficult that is,” said Fleming, of Gallup, N.M. “But take a whole family and subject two kids to it — it’s just unbearable.”
The family said James Kim left the car stuck in the snow in southwestern Oregon at about 7:45 a.m. Saturday and walked back the way they had come to look for help, saying he would return by 1 p.m. if he found none.
‘In remarkable shape’
Before he left, the four huddled together as a family for warmth and ran the car at night until they ran out of gas. Officials said some of the tires were burned as signal fires in a vain attempt to attract attention.
“They did a good job. They are in remarkable shape for spending nine days out in the wilderness in this type weather conditions,” Anderson said.
The family saw friends in Portland on Nov. 25 and then headed toward home after a Thanksgiving trip to the Pacific Northwest. They were last spotted at a restaurant that same day, but never arrived at a lodge where they had reservations.
Authorities combed highways and byways using snow machines and helicopters, and checked hotels and resorts along the south coast.
Hastings said Kati Kim told a detective the family intended to take Oregon 42, the usual route from Interstate 5 to the south Oregon coast, but they missed the turnoff, found Bear Camp Road on the map and decided to take it instead of turning back. Their car was 15 miles from Bear Camp Road when found.
As a senior editor for CNET in San Francisco, James Kim covers digital audio and co-hosts a weekly video podcast for the Crave gadgets blog on CNET.
The couple owns two boutiques in San Francisco — Doe, a clothing store on lower Haight Street, and the Church Street Apothecary in Noe Valley, which sells baby goods and skin care products.
Friends and co-workers in San Francisco celebrated the news of the rescue Monday.
“We are extremely relieved that they have found Kati and the kids,” said Sarah Cain, spokeswoman for CNET Networks Inc. “We are cautiously optimistic and hopeful that it will bring more good news about James and his family.”
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