A California woman recently rescued from a remote forest with her newborn child described her incredible three-day ordeal to reporters this week, claiming she gave birth, fought off insects and started a brush fire before help finally arrived.
35-year-old Amber Pangborn says she was going into labor on Thursday when she tried to take a shortcut to her parents’ house, instead running out of gas in the million-acre Plumas County National Forest. From the L.A. Times:
Pangborn’s baby wouldn’t wait and she had no choice but to give birth alone. She named her daughter Marisa.
And then came the bees and mosquitoes.
“I tried to not get them to sting her,” Pangborn told KCRA. The bees wanted the placenta, she said with a chuckle. She was stung while defending her daughter, she said.
Surviving off just soda, three apples and a bottle of water, Pangborn says she eventually tried to start a signal fire on Saturday with hairspray and a lighter. From NBC News:
“The whole side of the mountain caught on fire,” Pangborn said. “I was looking at Marisa and was like, ‘I think Mommy just started a forest fire.’”
She had — but it may have saved her life.
The U.S. Forest Service confirmed that they responded to the flames and finding a mother and her newborn baby inside a car. An ambulance was called as fire crews battled the quarter-acre blaze.
On Tuesday, U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Chris French told the Associated Press he could only corroborate some of Pangborn’s account.
“I cannot confirm the day of birth beyond that she reported to us she had been there for three days,” said French. “Also, her statement to us was that she gave birth at her vehicle within the forest. We did not witness the birth.”