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Kati Kim's life-saving ingenuity

The story of the missing Kim family finally took at least one promising turn yesterday afternoon when Kati Kim and her and James Kim' two daughters were found alive and in amazingly good condition after surviving for 9 days of exposure in what the Chronicle describes as snowy "wilderness."

We prattle on quite a lot here about what amounts to "how to put your pants on faster" tricks that can make you more theoretically productive. But, when it comes to real-life life hacking, this woman takes the cake.

I swear, if my family and I are ever in a situation like the Kims went through, I hope to God that one person in our group has the clear thinking, make-do ingenuity, and life-saving cleverness of Kati Kim:

They ran the heater in their station wagon until the car was out of gas, then burned all the tires in a desperate attempt to keep warm. When the food ran out, Kati Kim breastfed her two young daughters to keep them alive.

Hope was running low for the Kim family nine days after they became stranded in the snowy mountains of southwestern Oregon while making their way toward home in San Francisco. Then, at 1:45 p.m. Monday, Kim spotted a helicopter her family had hired to help in the search. She waved an umbrella on which she had taped reflective striping, and soon she and the girls were saved.

I honestly can't imagine I'd ever have the ability to hold it together for nine days in the wilderness -- let alone have the presence of mind to find reflective tape and put it on an umbrella. Man. Go, Kati.

I'm sure you all join me in sending good thoughts toward the Kim family as everyone holds their breath and hopes for James's safe location and rescue as soon as possible. A website has been set up to assist in finding James, and there's an email address on that page where you can send good wishes to the family.

[link and quote via BB]

Robert's picture

At first I also wondered...

At first I also wondered why Mr. James didn't gather wood to keep a good fire going. A burning tire can ignite even very wet, green material. But having driven that road several times (in the summer) I remembered how steep a lot of that terrain is. On the uphill side of the road there is often 20 ft near-vertical inclines of granite and rock along with steep drop-offs on the downhill side.

Some reports said that Mr. James had two lighters with him. If I were able to have my wits about me after six days of little or no food and much cold, I would have tried to wick some extra clothes in automatic transmission fluid or brake fluid and then put in a plastic bag to take on my journey. Perhaps then he would have been able to start a fire at night. Who knows, maybe he did have a fire, but I didn't read any reports that they found remnants of one while trying to follow his trail.

Of course it sounds like his original plan was to be only gone for five hours.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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