Penticton woman’s discovery ‘nothing short of a miracle’

Hunters have found Rita Chretien, a Penticton woman who went missing seven weeks ago with her husband Al Chretien

Hunters have found Rita Chretien, a Penticton woman who went missing seven weeks ago with her husband Al Chretien.

The Penticton couple were travelling to Las Vegas and crossed the U.S. border on March 19. A convenience store security camera video confirmed the couple entered a store in Baker City, Oregon on March 19 around 2:45 p.m. — it was also the last place their credit card was used.

RCMP, Nevada State Police and Baker City Police confirmed Rita Chretien was found alive Friday by hunters in Alco County, Nevada. The hunters found the woman by the van the couple had been travelling in, which got stuck off-road.

“She survived essentially on water for seven weeks,” said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk in an interview with the Penticton Western News via Skype, adding she was air-lifted to a medical facility.

The whereabouts of Al Chretien still are unknown and Moskaluk said the information regarding how their vehicle got stuck off-road is still unknown. The Elko Daily Free Press has reported sheriff’s detective Sgt. Kevin McKinney said a couple out riding four-wheelers spotted the couple’s van in a ravine about nine miles from Rowland, which is on the edge of the Humboldt National Forest.

“Nothing short of a miracle,” tweeted Cpl. Dan Moskaluk. “Al walked away from the van on the 22nd. Search on for him.”

Moskaluk said Penticton RCMP received information around 4 p.m. that a group of hunters came across Rita Chretien at her vehicle which was stuck on a forest service road away from the main highway.

“Rita was conscious and able to speak with rescuers and relay info on who she was. They did get stuck on March 19, the same day of the video footage that showed them in Baker City. They both remained at the vehicle for a few days and Al left on March 22 to summons help and has not been seen since,” said Moskaluk.

Raymond Chretien, the couple’s son, and his wife Jen were told by investigators that their mother was found alive as soon as police confirmed it was her.

“Jen and Raymond did get to speak with her on the telephone and are on their way to see her in Nevada,” said Moskaluk.

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