Mother and Daughter Found in New Zealand Forest After Pilot Spots ‘Help’ Sign Made of Sticks: We Were ‘Scared to Death’

Quick thinking helped save the lives of North Carolina mother Carolyn Lloyd and her daughter Rachel after the pair got lost for four days during a hike in New Zealand.

Carolyn, 45, was visiting daughter Rachel, 22, in New Zealand – where she’s studying at Massey University – when the decided to trek through Tararua Forest Park, they told ABC News.

After getting lost, however, Rachel fell in the water and hit her head on a rock, quickly “fading,” – a situation her mother called “terrifying.”

“I was speaking with my mom – I was actually [sic] had to go through kind of my dying wishes, which was the hardest thing – watching my mom watch me suffer and die slowly,” Rachel said. “My mom was incredible. She carried me on her back for a little while when she could.”

Fearing the worst, Rachel and Carolyn rationed their food supplies and huddled together to survive the near-freezing temperatures. Gathering branches and sticks, the pair created “help” signs to help point search teams to their location

“I was scared to death,” Carolyn told ABC. “I thought they wouldn’t find us.”

Eventually, however, the signs helped an Amalgamated Helicopters rescue team track down the women, and airlift them to a hospital, the New Zealand Hearald reported.

“They were certainly keen to make their presence known,” Amalgamated Helicopters director and chief pilot Jason Diedrichs, who found the Lloyds, told the Herald. “They were a little bit worse for wear, they’d been in there for four nights out in the open with very little food so they were definitely feeling the effects of that.”

Carolyn’s husband and Rachel’s father Barry Lloyd told ABC that Rachel was still hospitalized as of Sunday, but is expected to make a full recovery.

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The Lloyd’s harrowing rescue was similar to that of three men who were found after being stranded on an island in the Pacific Ocean earlier this month.

The men, who were stuck on the island for three days, were also found after using palm fronds to spell out “HELP,” which flagged the U.S. Coast Guard.

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