Sons of missing Palo Alto couple found alive in Marin County speak out

MARIN, Calif. (KGO) -- Palo Alto couple Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin went missing for eight days after going on a Valentine's Day hike together in the Inverness area. Sons Jon Kiparsky and Jonas Irwin spoke out about the incredible news they received Saturday morning that they were found alive.

"I got the text that said they found them alive," Kiparsky said. "I suddenly switched from thinking about how I was going to wrap up an estate to thinking about how I was going to get to Inverness- and how fast I could get there."

Stepbrother Jonas said this entire situation has brought the family together. "The way as a family we've all been on a roller coaster. I don't wish this on my worst enemy because you go into a state of twilight zone," Irwin said.

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Both Carol and Ian drank from a puddle for water and ate plants to sustain themselves.

"His mom is like an herbalist, mushroom hunter, my dad with his background in mountaineering, they know how to like find things and eat. They were eating some part of a fern," Irwin said.

77-year-old Carol was found with no shoes. "My mother said, 'you know I lost a shoe so I was walking with one shoe and then I lost the other shoe and I kept walking and then I walked in my socks and then I got tired of walking in my socks so then I was walking bare feet for a while.' And I'm just- you're 77 years-old," Irwin said.

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The Marin County Sheriff's Office tweeted a photo of the couple recovering at Marin Health. Both of them could be seen with scrapes and bruises, but holding thumbs up and appearing in good spirits.

Irwin said they're just now hearing of how the married couple helped each other.

"He was laying his body flat into that awful thorny crap, which poison oak, you name it, so that Carol could go over him," Irwin said. "That's chivalry, like I hope that's still alive."

On behalf of the family, they want to thank Sgt. Brenton Schneider from the Marin County Sheriff's Office and Michael St. John who lead the rescue teams, and the hundreds of volunteers that spent their personal time searching in rough terrain.

"30 of them got poison oak just grinding through the thicket as Jonathan called it," Irwin said. "To find people they don't even know and ultimately did and we're just overwhelmed."

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"Everyone who was thinking about them who was searching for them, who has reached out to me and my family about them -- thank you," Irwin said.

The Irwin and Kiparsky family released a statement Sunday with an update on Carol and Ian's condition:

"On behalf of Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin, we wanted to provide everyone with an update. Carol and Ian are in amazing spirits and have expressed their gratitude to everyone for the well wishes during their recovery.

They are still hospitalized and being monitored due to the extensive abrasions from the dense brush. They have an excellent group of professionals monitoring them at a local hospital.

Carol and Ian have met with both the Marin County Sheriff's Office and Search and Rescue Team members. They will be forever grateful for the hard work and dedication put forth by all of the Search and Rescue volunteers and First Responders from all over the Bay Area who searched every day for them.

They look forward to telling their story in time, but are asking for privacy until they are ready to tell the story of how they survived the unimaginable seven nights in the Inverness wilderness.

Until they are ready to tell their story, please respect the privacy of our family as we work toward their recovery.

Thank you to everyone involved, we will be forever grateful for the work you do."
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