Women spent 5 days trapped in car in -15 degree temps and snow before getting rescued


Two vulnerable women were found five days after going missing in a snowstorm in Maine — miraculously surviving in their SUV without food or heat as temperatures plunged to minus 15.

Kimberly Pushard, 51, and Angela Bussell, 50, were last seen Wednesday filling up Pushard’s Jeep Compass with gas in Springfield, more than 150 miles from home in Topsham and a day after leaving home to go bowling.

The women, who are both intellectually disabled, got lost as family members and cops tried to give them directions — before their phone died and they ran out of gas, The Times Record said.

Rescue crews used helicopters, planes and vehicles to hunt for the women after a Missing Vulnerable Adult Alert, with the search stretching into neighboring Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Pushard's Jeep Compass covered in snow in trail where the women were found five days after going missing.
The women got lost and then trapped in snow in Pushard’s Jeep Compass.
Topsham Police Department

They were finally found Sunday by a snowmobile-riding Maine Game Warden who spotted the red SUV covered in snow where it ran out of gas in an unplowed trail near Nicatous Lake.

“I hollered, ‘Hello, game warden,’ two times and probably maybe 10 or 15 seconds later, the driver’s side door opened” and Pushard “stuck her head out and she said hello,” warden Brad Richard told WMUR News.

When he asked if she was “Kim,” Pushard replied, “How did you know my name?” the warden recalled.

“I said, ‘We’ve been looking for you,’” he told the local station.

Maine Game Warden Brad Richard on his snowmobile.
Maine Game Warden Brad Richard put the rescue down to pure luck.
Topsham Police Department

He said he found them on a path he hadn’t planned to search, putting the find down to pure luck. “Those things don’t always happen by chance,” he told The Times Record. “I think kind of was meant to be.”

The women did not have food, and their only drink — a half-empty bottle of Mountain Dew — was frozen, the warden said, saying he “gave them what was left” of his lunch as he arranged for extra help.

Kimberly Pushard, 51, and Angela Bussell, 50, in photo released by police announcing that they'd been found.
Police shared a pic of the women smiling as they announced they’d been found.
Topsham Police Department

The Times Record said the pair’s SUV got stuck in the snow on Wednesday, running out of gas — and heat — on Saturday morning.

Rescuers confirmed that it meant the “women had spent the night in the vehicle with no heat with outside temperatures of approximately -15 degrees.”

“Had they run out of gas the first day it might have been a different story,” Lt. Dan Menard of the Warden Service told the local paper, saying it meant they “only saw that one day in those extremely cold temperatures” without heat.

He predicted that the women would not have survived had they tried to walk for help, given that the trail was miles from main roads and likely traffic.

Topsham police shared a photo of the women smiling alongside their rescuer.

Bussell was treated at a local hospital for frostbite before being discharged that evening. Pushard was observed overnight, but was in good spirits with seemingly nothing worse than some bruising and pulled muscles, her family said.

“She just talked and talked,” her mother, Patsy Pushard, told The Times Record. “She sounded happy, just like the usual Kimmy.”


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