A New Zealander who shattered her pelvis when she fell from a boulder in Joshua Tree National Park, and survived four days amid brutal heat before being rescued, was recovering Tuesday after undergoing surgery at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.
Claire Nelson’s ordeal began a week ago. She told a friend last Tuesday that she was going to hike to Lost Palms Oasis. The 36-year-old hiker was expected to return Wednesday, but was not heard from, leading park rangers to launch a search for her Friday morning. She was found by a search helicopter about 3 p.m. Friday and airlifted to Desert Regional Medical Center.
According to an Instagram post from Nelson, she fell after “scrambling over a high boulder” and broke her pelvis and dislocated one of her ankles.
Nelson said she had to resort to drinking her own urine because she ran out of water and “fashioned a curtain from a stick and a plastic bag” to keep herself out of the sun.
“I decided I just needed to stay alive long enough (to) be found,” she wrote. “I tried not to lose hope. Admittedly, that was challenging at times.”
On a GoFundMe page created to assist with her medical costs, Nelson wrote Tuesday morning that she underwent surgery to reconstruct her pelvis and can sit upright for the first time since her injury.
Her next steps include physiotherapy on Wednesday.
“Progress will be slow, but it’s still progress,” Nelson wrote.
To contribute to her treatment, visit www.gofundme.com/help-claire-nelson .