MARIN COUNTY, Calif. --A 10-year-old Sacramento County girl is safe at home after a terrifying ordeal in the Sierra.
The girl fell into an ice cave over the weekend, near Castle Peak, not far from the Boreal Mountain Resort. And as luck would have it, Bay Area first responders happened to be training there.
Samantha White, 10, was looking down a hole over a snow-covered creek when she slipped. I a photo, you can see her hand print where she grasped the snow before she fell 10 feet. Her father tried to help.
Samantha's dad William White said, "I stuck out the snow pole for her to grab and she wasn't strong enough to hold on to it."
Samantha said, "I didn't hurt myself. It was just scary and the water was freezing."
There were 14 members of the Marin County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team who just happened to be training in the same area near Boreal.
Robert Rye from the Marin County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team, or Marin SAR, said, "She was crying, scared. She couldn't hear very well because the snow pack was probably six or eight feet thick."
In less than 15 minutes, the team improvised a system of ropes and plucked the Sacramento County girl straight out of the hole. Two of the search and rescue workers, pictured with Samantha and her hiking friend, are teen volunteers.
Malcom Schoenlein, a youth member of Marin SAR, said, "We got her wet shoes and socks and wet jacket off, and replaced it with gear that we pulled together from our personal packs."
Lauren Knott, a youth member of Marin SAR, said, "I remember putting my hat on her head when we pulled her out of the hole because she was shivering and then I said, 'You look good in my hat.' Then she smiled and I was so happy."
Samantha said, "I was happy I was up and my feet were freezing."
Samantha would have become hypothermic or worse, but the search and rescue team was there in the right place at the right time.