NewsCovering Kern County


Family rescued from Sequoia National Forest

Lost for over 24-hours, one man almost died
Posted at 11:12 AM, Jul 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-07 14:12:27-04

What started as a normal day of hiking turned into a nightmare for one local family. 

“There were moments when she said just go without me. And I said no I am not leaving you. If anything we will just die here together," says David Clarke. 

David Clarke, along with his sister Patricia Berry, her daughter Terra Berry and their friend Kevin Fretwall attempted the 'Seven Tea Cups' hiking trail Sunday afternoon. 

Around 5 p.m. that night, on their way back down the trail, they took a wrong turn and got lost. 

“Eventually the trail disappears. I said oh my god, it is dark, we have our cell phones and I’m sitting here thinking, we need to call 911," David told 23ABC. "So we did make that attempt. It just kept beeping and beeping, beeping and beeping. 911 is not going through."

By 9 a.m. the next morning, they were still lost. Kevin, who is a diabetic, became extremely ill. 

“Kevin’s eyes were rolling to the back of his head. And he told us that he couldn’t make it no more,” says Patricia.

That is when Patricia and David made the decision to leave 14-year-old Terra and Kevin to go get help. 

"I said, Patty I know you don’t want to leave and I don’t want to leave my niece but somebody needs to stay with him. He is unresponsive. If he is unresponsive then he cant speak if anyone is yelling to find him," says David. 

Terra was left terrified taking care of an unconscious Kevin. 

"At first I was having a panic attack because I wanted to go home, I was missing my mom and dad," says Terra. 

Patirica and David continued to search for a way out despite being exhausted and dehydrated themselves. 

“My sister, she would pass out on the ground on her back, and her mouth would be open with sores and white stuff all around," says David. 

They eventually found their way out Monday around 9 p.m. The Tulare County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue began looking for Terra and Kevin that night. 

“Sent a chopper out but couldn’t find them, then went out on foot. And found them at three or four in the morning," says Patricia. 

By Wednesday morning, Patricia was reunited with Terra. Kevin had to be airlifted to a hospital in Visalia, California. 

“We didn’t think he was going to make it, his whole body was cold. They had to put warmers all over his body," says David. 

Kevin stabilized and was released from the hospital Friday morning. 

For Terra, David and Patricia, they are still recovering mentally from the experience.