Thursday, December 07, 2006

James Kim. I'm incredibly saddened and uplifted at once.

I 've been overwhelmed by this story all morning as soon as AJS brought to my attention that the James Kim that's been all over the news as missing in the Oregon wilderness was not just some no-name-hapless-joe but was the host of a techno-gadgets show we used to watch! He was the smart, funny, on-the-cutting-edge, sweet young guy who would somehow manage to put photos of his daughter into his gadget reviews. He was only one year younger than me! And our children are practically the same ages! How could I not get all wrapped up in it? The story is fascinating and gut-wrenching. TV mini-series on the way....?

So here's my redux at what happened. 35-year-old James and 30-year-old Kati and their two daughters (4 years and 7 months) set off in their car from a Thanksgiving holiday on the Oregon coast, headed home to San Francisco. They were driving for hours and missed an exit, instead continuing onto a mountainous side road that wound far in the wrong direction from their destination and any inhabited area. They hit a snow drift, ran out of gas and were snowbound for 5 days before they became desperate enough for James to consider other options. They were running out of food and had no idea when they might be rescued, so James left his young family at their car and left to seek help. Here's an aerial photo of what this area looks like:

He was only wearing jeans, sneakers and a mid-weight coat, not adequate for wet, freezing weather. He had a lighter and an Oregon map, some extra clothes and supplies. According to the clues that searchers uncovered, James walked EIGHT miles in this wilderness and made it back to within a mile from his family when a SHEER CLIFF separated him from their location and he succumbed to the elements and died after being alone for four days. How horrific.

He left Kati with a pretty good setup, like a campground. They were able to heat themselves with the car's heater, then burned the tires when the heater gave out. Kati nursed both girls (YAY FOR BREASTFEEDING!!!) to keep their strength up. Kati and girls were rescued after nine days. Kati was seen by a helicopter pilot, waving an umbrella from her car. James' body was found two days later. God, I can't even imagine.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh. This makes me cry and cry and cry. They remind me of people we know. How tragic. How heroic.


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