Arizona Dept. of Public Safety(PHOENIX) — A 72-year-old woman who got lost in the Arizona wilderness survived for nine days by drinking pond water and eating plants and was only rescued after spelling out “help” with sticks and rocks on the canyon floor, officials said.

The saga for Ann Rodgers and her dog began March 31, when she was headed to Phoenix to visit her grandchildren. She ran out of gas, and found herself stranded on a remote road near Canyon Creek on the White River Indian Reservation, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said.

She tried to climb to find cell service, but got lost, officials said.

Rodgers and her dog then spent the next nine days and nights in the wilderness.

On April 3, officials found her car, sparking an “exhaustive” two-day search, including aerial searches, but rescuers were unable to find her.

On April 9, an officer found her dog walking out of the Canyon Creek area, and then in an aerial search, a crew saw Rodger’s “help” sign made out of sticks and rocks.

Under one of the rocks in the distress signal was a hand-written message, dated April 3, saying that Rodgers was running out of food and water and that she was “proceeding down the canyon.”

“Further down the canyon, ADPS Ranger discovered what appeared to be a shelter that had been abandoned by Rodgers,” public safety said in a statement. “As ADPS continued the search and rounded a bend in the canyon, Rodgers was located standing next to a signal fire and waving to the helicopter.”

Rodgers suffered from exposure but was hospitalized in fair condition, officials said.

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