Thursday, December 07, 2006
Wilderness survival: The rule of threes

A SWAT officer is lowered by helicopter to the remote spot where James Kim's body was found.

Probably every one of us who has seen the tragic story out of Oregon has wondered what they would do if faced with same situation as James Kim and his family. I'm no different.

I've discussed it with my colleagues. I've discussed it with my wife. So now I'm heading into the Rocky Mountains to find out what it is really like to be in the kinds of unbelievable conditions James and his family faced -- the freezing cold, the snow, the wilderness.

To prepare for this story, I've been interviewing experts about how to survive brutally cold conditions. They've told me about something call the rule of threes:
  1. You can survive for three hours without shelter
  2. You can survive for three days without water
  3. You can survive for three weeks without food
So now I know. And now the rest of us know. If you have to make a choice between food, water and shelter from the cold, then shelter wins out in a big way.

But what happens when you become desperate? When you look into your wife's or kids' eyes and see desperation equal to or greater than your own?

The last thing I want to do is judge James Kim's actions. After all, none of us could ever imagine what must have been going through his mind after being in caught with his family in the Oregon snow, with nothing but wilderness around and seemingly no hope for rescue.

I now know he should have stayed. Tonight, in my report, as I trek into the Rocky Mountains and meet with some survival experts, I hope to show what we're all supposed to do if faced with similar conditions.
Posted By Rick Sanchez, CNN Correspondent: 3:10 PM ET
This story is so tragic and sad and I keep thinking of his wife and children who will inevitably wish he had only stayed with them. I hope that there will be a huge public outpouring of support for the, to try to fill the void left by a father they lost.
Posted By Anonymous Lyndsay Warwick, RI : 3:47 PM ET
I think people are going to say looking in hindsight that he should ahve stayed but how can we say that is what you should always do. There are other instances when the only reason people were rescued is b/c someone went to get help. All depends on the situation.
Posted By Anonymous Eielson AFB, AK : 3:48 PM ET
As a former Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Instructor, I thought I would add a little spin on the rule of three's.

3 weeks without food
3 days without water
3 hours without shelter
3 minutes without air
But not three seconds without hope.

I agree you cannot ultimately know what he was thinking or second guess his decision to leave the vehicle. He made a lot of good decisions. The "hug a tree" approach to survival is only as good as the response from search and rescue assets to beginning a search. He couldn't have known when or where those assets might have been looking.
Posted By Anonymous Scott, Portland Oregon : 3:52 PM ET
This is what I'v been waiting for in response. An article on what TO DO! Thank you!
Posted By Anonymous Cyndi, Montclair NJ : 3:56 PM ET
I did not know that about surviving for three hours only without shelter... By the time Kim made the decision to go for help, he probably was not thinking clearly anyway... God bless him... If nothing else, hopefully we can learn something from this tragedy...
Posted By Anonymous Sherry Sarasota Fl : 3:58 PM ET
It is always so easy for all of us to "second guess". But James didn't. He did what he had to at that second, that minute, at that time. His wife and children have a legacy that is golden: I did it for you.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa, Ripley WV : 4:00 PM ET
You say, "I now know he should have stayed." But that's with the benefit of knowing there was no help or shelter or lodge nearby for him to find. Even knowing the Rules of Three, it's hard to know whether in a similar situation one should at least scout for nearby help. Apparently he told his wife he'd be back in a few hours.
Posted By Anonymous George, Chicago IL : 4:00 PM ET
What a tragedy for Mr.Kim and his young family. He was a brave man and his wife is also very brave. I think most of us would have made the same decision he did out of fear for our family. I pray we all learn what to do and what not to do so this does not happen again. My question is did the cell phones not work? If so why not? Mr. Kim was very advanced technologically, its terrible that this very same technology let him down. I thank God that at least they were able to find a "ping" signal from Ms. Kim's phone.
My thoughts and prayers to you!
Posted By Anonymous Jill, Fort Worth Texas : 4:01 PM ET
and how do such rules apply to small children? and a mother that was breast feeding? Do these rules only apply to adults? If so, why? How?
Posted By Anonymous Troy, Atlanta, GA : 4:02 PM ET
A person can live for:
Three minutes without air.
Three hours without shelter.
Three days without water.
Three weeks without food.
Three months without love.

Just adding the one about air.
Posted By Anonymous Ryan, Austin Texas : 4:03 PM ET
My boyfriend and I were on these very same roads in Oregon trying to travel back from Gold Beach to Asland in mid-October. They are very scary, winding roads that you can barely navigate on a good day and the signs are very few and confusing. The roads are very poorly marked. That has not been mentioned in the media coverage. The authorities there should take any steps they can to better mark those roads. We wondered on a beautiful fall day how we ended up there and what would happen if you ever broke down there. I am so sad to hear this story.
Posted By Anonymous Kerry Gildea, Arlington, VA : 4:03 PM ET
I think it is disgusting for you to even consider this story at this time. You should be ashamed of yourself!!!!
Posted By Anonymous LK, Lexington, SC : 4:04 PM ET
This is an unfortunate but heroic story. We all have a piece of us to tell through this magnificent outcome. I hope James Kim will be remembered through his children's eyes as someone who gave his life for them.

John Bean
Orlando, Florida
Posted By Anonymous John Bean, Orlando, Florida : 4:04 PM ET
Thanks so much for addressing these issues....We are all talking about this in our family. It's a burning question, and it's horribly tragic what happened to this devoted Father. Please, please give us informtaion, answers, solutions. We should all be thinking and be prepared should this kind of luck fall upon us. Thanks again, J. Morrow; Golden, Colorado
Posted By Anonymous J. Morrow; Golden, Colorado : 4:05 PM ET
Growing up in Maine (quite rugged wilderness) and living with a family that has hunted and fished for generations..I have always been told that it is best to stay put unless you know the terrain and area. If luck is with you and those searching you will have a better chance of being found.I would hate to have to look into my families eyes if I was wrong though. Our thoughts are with the family.
Posted By Anonymous Scott, Tampa Florida : 4:05 PM ET
James Kim was an idiot and so are many of the people who searched for him, raising the hopes of his family. Hypothermia and exposure are the most deadly dangers he would have faced. At least he was dry and out of the wind in the car. Furthermore, most people who travel in snow country in the winter carry an emergency kit: a candle in a can (for warmth), some easily ready-to-eat form of food (granola bars, for example), and warm blankets. Finally, people in advanced stages of hypothermia often discard clothing and gloves because they think they are warm!
Posted By Anonymous Jessie, Helena MT : 4:05 PM ET
I live in the Rocky Mountains. There are certain roads and passes here that are closed to traffic in the winter, with the knowledge that they become impassable. I'm wondering why the Oregon DOT did not close this road. Haven't other people been stranded there before? If the Kim's had come upon a closed gate, they would have turned around and gone another route. In the name of public safety, I think this road should be closed from the first significant snowfall until the spring thaw. This should never be allowed to happen again.
Posted By Anonymous Cindy, Aspen, CO : 4:05 PM ET
First, I praise Mr. Kim for his bravery. Something that keeps coming to my mind is if they were on a road to get stuck, why not track back on that same road?
Posted By Anonymous Tony, Modesto, CA : 4:07 PM ET
Yes, for his temporary survival, he should have stayed in the car with his family. But that would have most likely made this story even more tragic. This man is a hero. He accomplished his goal. He saved his family. If he had not been brave enough to set out to look for help, then the helicopter pilot would not have seen his tracks, and that would have meant it would take long to have found the car. That could have meant the death of all of them.

As a father, I pray that God would give me the stregth to be brave enough to do what he did. I'd rather die, myself, than to watch as my family died in front of me.
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Fortville Indiana : 4:07 PM ET
in your report: "You can survive for three days without water. You can survive for three weeks without food."

But only if 'you' are an adult. A 7 month old baby would have died a long time before then. As a father, I don't think that he had any choice at all.
Posted By Anonymous Glyn Thomas, London, England : 4:07 PM ET
This is indeed a tragedy, but it's also important to note that the area they were in is _not_ a wilderness nor really even that remote when compared to much of the Western US. The conditions were also nowhere near as bad as the regular, daily weather is for much of the northern states all winter long. What's truly sad in this case is that it simply should not have happened; people who are not prepared for winter conditions should not travel unfamiliar roads without letting someone know where they are going.

Most of my family lives in rural Oregon, Minnesota, and Alaska and travels roads much worse than these on a regular basis. We all carry survival kits in our vehicles, tell family where we are going, and have the skills to survive should we have an accident. Winter travel is dangerous in much of the US outside the major cities, and people who are not well prepared for these conditions have no business driving off the major highways. Unfortunately, each winter we hear sad stories of people who endanger their lives (and too often those of their children as well) to save time or because they didn't bother to share their plans with others. The Kims are just another sad chapter in a long story.
Posted By Anonymous Derek Larson, St. Cloud, MN : 4:08 PM ET
does the rule of threes also apply to infants and children?
Posted By Anonymous Rob, Portland, ME : 4:08 PM ET
I feel absolutely horrible about what happened to this family, but I still have to wonder why they were out there in the first place. It's late Fall and the weather can change radically from day to day. If you're traveling in an area known for it's harsh winter weather, you should always check the conditions before you set out on your journey. If it looks hazardous, stay where you are. Delay the trip for a day. Don't risk your own life and that of your family by taking a chance. It's just not worth it.
Posted By Anonymous Bobbi Leavenworth, KS : 4:08 PM ET
I think it is extremely insensitive to say "he should have stayed." I would have done the same thing, and in his exact situation, you probably would have too. Why play the "woulda shoulda" game? Let the family and friends mourn without analyzing his actions.
Posted By Anonymous Natalie, Indianapolis, IN : 4:11 PM ET
James, we are proud of you.

You did what you can do for your family.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Hoboken, NJ : 4:12 PM ET
I don't have a family of my own, so I can only imagine what was going through James' mind. Apparently he had outdoor experience which probably meant he knew of the risks of stepping out of the car and searching for help. But I think his actions serve as a testament to who he was as a father and husband to risk his life to save his family. It is so heartbreaking to imagine what his last thoughts were, not knowing whether his family would be saved even in his last living moments.
Posted By Anonymous Roy Kim, Los Angeles, CA : 4:14 PM ET
In the same situation for that period of time,I would have done the same in seeking help for my family. A solution is key. He will be remembered for trying his best.
Posted By Anonymous Chris M. St. Petersburg, FL : 4:14 PM ET
It's real easy to sit in the warmth and comfort of our home and offices and try to analyz Kim's situation and what he should or should not have done. I believe what hw did not only proves that he was a great husband and Father but the best. Just imagin what he would have felt like if his wife and children died in front of his eyes? He was left wih no choic but try and do what he thought best for his family and I have no dough in my mind that his family will view him as a Hero for as long as they live. His Family sould live live to the fullest and make the best of it to make up for Kim's scarifize.
Posted By Anonymous Shweta, San Farncisco, CA : 4:14 PM ET
You say, "I now know he should have stayed." But for how long? He spent a week in that car with three freezing, starving family members--and no one came. Without additional food and water for his family, should he have stayed indefinitely, until they all died?
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Bozeman MT : 4:15 PM ET
It's hard to say what any of us would do in that situation. Imagine being in a car for nine days with two young ones, many of us wouldn't have waited that long to look for help. His family is alive and safe and in my opinion he did them proud.
Posted By Anonymous John L., Denver CO : 4:17 PM ET
I think staying in the shelter would be harder than braving the elements to find help. He let his heartache over his kids outweigh his better judgement. I can't imagine having to make the choice. Great story Rick.
Posted By Anonymous Jess, Paris, KY : 4:17 PM ET
In my career as a geologist I have worked and lived in the wild country. Here is my preparation for a trip: 1. carry along extra clothing, warm winter jackets, etc., 2. take more food than you might need, and plenty of water. 3 Have good maps and uptodate road conditions. and 4. Never go without a GPS (global positioning system) instrument, to find your location or a way out. 5. A battery powered radio is essential for weather reports.... All of these items can be stowed in a car. And finally, prepare for trip to the mountains by getting physically fit before you leave. As extra items, consider rain gear, binoculars, and include a first aid kit, an advanced one. Any one of these items may save a life.
Posted By Anonymous Hal Stephens, Flagstaff, AZ : 4:17 PM ET
Also, the rule extends to 3 minutes without air and falling for over 3 seconds.
Posted By Anonymous Gary,Bellefontaine, Ohio : 4:18 PM ET
It is frustrating to me, as a Ham Radio hobbyist, to know that a simple, lightweight, battery operated portable radio transmitter (transceiver) and small wire antenna (they fit in a lunchbox) could have easily saved this man's life. ALWAYS have emergency backup communications capabilities when you venture away from populated areas! Godspeed to his widow and children.
Posted By Anonymous George Pitt, Cleveland, Ohio : 4:19 PM ET
3 hours without shelter??? What are the assumptions? Seems like a pretty short number unless you assume a body has been or is immursed in cold water and very, very cold air temperatures.

Do not confuse the following with criticism of Mr. Kim, rather advice going forward. If you are driving on a secluded, back country road with no cell signal, and the road is climbing to heights where the rain is turning to snow and your vehicle looks like it might have traction issues, turn around early. That car should not have been on that road. Travel on well traveled roads that are maintained. Especially if you are unfamiliar with the area and roads. One 'good' that can come from this tragedy is for others learn how to avoid this - dont put yourself in the situation in the FIRST PLACE!
Posted By Anonymous charlie, salem, oregon. : 4:19 PM ET
Gimme a break. It's a sad thing that the James Kim died but he's not a hero. I'm tired of everyone saying just because a nice guy dies that he's a hero. He's much less than a hero. Its his fault he died and that his family almost died. First, he was driving on a summer road in the winter with no safety precautions. No blankets, food, flares... He got himself lost and then wasn't prepared. Second, he got himself killed. Ok sure, he felt desperate and had to leave the car but then he walks for two miles before leaving the road and diving into the bush. That was just plain dumb. Who did he expect to find in the bush. A deer, a hiker. Stay on the road. Go back the way you came. So he ended up wandering 8-10 miles in the bush and end up about a mile from the car.

A nice guy. A tragedy that he died but come up world wake up. He's not a hero. He's not someone you should aspire to emulate.
Posted By Anonymous Efinn, Foster City, CA : 4:19 PM ET
I live in San francisco, where Mr. Kim also lived, but I am originally from the northeast, so I've seen some brutally cold weather as well. Having had the experience of these two distinct climates, I feel that Mr. Kim probably underestimated the life-threatening nature of cold weather. I have travelled to cold places with native San Franciscans - to New York in February for instance, and watched bemusedly as my friends suddenly achieved the horrifying realization that, "it's so cold, it could kill you!" The fact is, that anyone who has lived their life in the Bay Area or LA, just does not "get" that weather can be dangerous - it's simply an alien concept to them. The fact that Mr. Kim felt it was a good idea to go out in the cold with no hat on, sadly reveals his inexperience.
Posted By Anonymous Vince, San Francisco, CA : 4:20 PM ET
What would be the comments have been if they were all found dead in the van (in who knows how many weeks) something like 'why didn't he go for help'? I admire the man. Faced with limited options he was willing to give his family a chance at a second option. If he had stayed in the van, with them, the chance of rescue stayed the same. However, by seeking help, their chance of survival doubled. I read the SAR team got a rough idea where to look from a momentary cellphone tower acquisition. I bet he had the phone with him and his trek moved the phone within tower visibility. As a side note (if the previous rumor is true) would it be possible to put a portable emergency cellular relay (with all the various provider protocols) in an aircraft over flying the area in an attempt to acquire their cell signal?
Posted By Anonymous Douglas Manuel Herndon, VA : 4:21 PM ET
I agree with all been said. Again, I don't try second guessing. I am sure Mr. Kim has done everything he could have done. But one thing I am wondering, is that, what happened his cell phone? Does he not carry a cell phone? And also a GPS navigation system might have helped in such situation. When you take a long drive in your car, particularly with your family, you need to prepare a few things in the car for just in case.
I can think of a few items, like cell phone, flash light, water jug or a few coke cans, area map, and perhaps extra blanket. Among all of them, a cell phone is a MUST. My heart goes out to Kim's family.

Andy from rockville, MD
Posted By Anonymous Andrew Kang, Gaithersburg, MD : 4:22 PM ET
I have to agree with the statement that he should have stayed put. His efforts were heroic but ill advised. The only way I could see myself searching for help (without proper clothing) is if one of my family members couldn't last. From the reports, the wife and kids were in good health when they were found.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, South Kingstown RI : 4:23 PM ET
The guy was a gadget freak. Why didn't he have a simple GPS device? I just don't get it...
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Kansas City, USA : 4:24 PM ET
After 9 days you have to believe that nobody is coming. 9 days is a long time. If James Kim had left his family and gone for help after one or two days I could see people questioning what he did, but after more than a week I am sure he figured that he needed to take matters into his own hands. God Bless him and his family. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
Posted By Anonymous Ryan, Milwaukee, WI : 4:25 PM ET
Um, we are discussing this subject, and stating that 'he should have stayed', in order to educate each other on how long you can survive in various conditions- in order to survive. It is in no way insensitive to want to prevent similar incidents. I'm sure the Kim family would agree.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly, Austin Tx : 4:25 PM ET
My familys thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children.
Posted By Anonymous Michele P. Sanford Me : 4:26 PM ET
Kim is no hero. To the contrary, he was an idiot in his actions.
It's been said that he was "high tech" savvy and owned all the latest gizmos.
Lot of good that did him. He should have bought one less Ipod, and used the money to keep an axe in his car trunk. Darwinism at its finest.
Posted By Anonymous C. Foster, Brunswick, Md. : 4:27 PM ET
kim saw his situation,the risks. He did what he thought was right for his family. He did some thing he could live with if he were rescued. He died in the process. His priorities were right and he was brave. He was way above most of us whiners and complainers and we have no right to doubt him.
Posted By Anonymous randi,raleigh,NC : 4:28 PM ET
" He spent a week in that car with three freezing, starving family members--and no one came."
And that is the main question. Was this Bear Camp road pass which is an obvious shortcut to Goldbeach ever thoroughly searched? Or did they take a side road from that? They should have obviously searched this pass better.
Posted By Anonymous Erik Brooks, Portland, OR : 4:28 PM ET
For days I have been so distraught over this story. I, too, have wondered what I would have done in that situation. Hindsight is 20/20 and I keep thinking over and over "if only he'd stayed in the car". This "rule of threes" is so important. Thank you for spreading the word.

My heart bleeds for the Kim family. I only hope that James saw the helicopters and died knowing that his wife and girls would be rescued.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly Paz Solldan, Rochester, MN : 4:28 PM ET
James Kim is not just a hero to his family. He also is a hero to those of us (myself included) who, as a result of this story, will never drive in winter conditions without taking along a survival kit and notifying someone of our travel plans. We all can learn from this tragedy -- it could have happened to anyone.
Posted By Anonymous Beth Morin, Durango, CO : 4:29 PM ET
I just read an interview from a helicopter pilot involved in the rescue attempt that knows that area. He said a camper salesman had gotten stranded on that road some years back and was not found dead until spring. I understand the importance of shelter, but I think it unfair to second guess this gentleman's brave choice.
Posted By Anonymous Rich Herndon, VA : 4:30 PM ET
This is a tragic story. I live in the Pacific Northwest and travel the passes quite frequently to visit family. I think the key decision here was which route to take. The passes in the winter time can be trecherous, even on the well maintained interstates. And there are plenty of well maintained routes between Seattle and SF. This is not the time to take a shortcut or a scenic route, especially with a major winter storm bearing down. This seems to happen every year in Oregon and Washington. I agree with another poster that these roads should be gated to prevent more people from taking these routes.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick, Seattle, WA : 4:30 PM ET
There are many comments regarding cell phones. Folks, cell phones, in most cases, DO NOT WORK in unpopulated areas. A cell phone is essentially USELESS in such geography, since you are too far away from a cell tower. Which is why the ONLY 'fail-safe' form of emergency communications is 2-way radio. HAM RADIO, to be exact. These days, these radios are so compact and portable, and run off of car batteries or smaller batteries, and use small mobile or wire antennas. You can easily be heard hundreds of miles away using only a few watts of power. And it all fits in a briefcase or lunchbox! Obtaining a Ham Radio (Amateur Radio) license could one day save your life.
Posted By Anonymous George Pitt, Cleveland, Ohio : 4:31 PM ET
I live in Oregon and have spent a lot of time in the mountains. I think all of us (city dwellers included) underestimate the power of nature. Every day I checked CNN over and over for updates. It was as if by checking, maybe I could help the searchers look faster. My heart goes out to his daughters, and especially his wife who had to let him go for help on Saturday.
Posted By Anonymous Heather W. Lake Oswego, Oregon : 4:31 PM ET
It was a tragedy yes and he was a hero for doing the best he could for his family after the incident. However, he made a HUGE mistake by taking a very dangerous "shortcut" on a road that was so deserted that no one drove by for 9 days! If you plan to take such huge risks in life, then you must be preapred for the consequences... which unfortunately was the loss of his life. I pray for the family, but this hero-worship media frenzy is a bit odd when he made a terrible decision and took a huge risk with his family by taking that "shortcut."
Posted By Anonymous Jason, Wichita, KS : 4:32 PM ET
Its a sad story,

people need to realize that the coverage in these rural parts of oregon are non existant. So its not like you can just dial for help.

I am shocked though that they burned the car tires and no search planes saw it? burning rubber usualy can bee seen for miles and miles. DOT should of closed the roads. WHAT the heck is wrong with the oregon search party, what were they all going to search on foot?
Posted By Anonymous Todd, Portland Oregon : 4:32 PM ET
I applaud the effort of the rescue squad. They were racing against time all the time but never gave up. Kim should be remembered as a hero for trying to get help and dry trying.
Posted By Anonymous satinder, worcester, MA : 4:33 PM ET
I am in total awe of the bravery, resourcefulness and strength of the entire Kim family. Since they went missing, I've been following the events and imagining what I would do in those circumstances. It's hard to say what any of us would do after being stuck for 9 days in these conditions. 9 long days passed BEFORE James Kim set out on foot. It's unbelievably sad and heartbreaking- I have been thinking about Kati Kim and her children for days. I keep asking myself over and over again why the road was even open. There should be some sort of barracade or multiple signs posted about conditions. On the map, it looks like a legitimate road. Also, some maps have warnings in red about this road but the map the family used had no such warning. There are many things that could be done in the future to prevent tragedies like this from happening to others. My heart goes out to the Kim family.
Posted By Anonymous Annette Gold, San Clemente, CA : 4:33 PM ET
Thank you for doing this! I watched your show last night on finding James Kim's body and was greatly disappointed when the segment ended without you mentioning anything about what people should do if they find themselves in a similar situation. The least you could have done was remind people that they should always carry food, water, and blankets in their cars when traveling in winter, especially in the mountains where conditions can change quickly. AND the fact that your car is always your best shelter and is going to be much easier for rescuers to find than individual bodies lost in the wilds.
Posted By Anonymous Craig Culp, Gaithersburg, MD : 4:34 PM ET
Some questions - why didn't he build and maintain a large bon fire near the car? And couldn't he have set out walking and built a shelter each night out of sticks and clothes and built a fire? That changes the whole "no shelter" scenario.
Posted By Anonymous Doug, NY, NY : 4:34 PM ET
My thoughts exactly Vince. My sister has lived in San Francisco for almost 30 years. She has said that it doesn't snow in the Bay Area. Imagine someone living their entire life without the experience of driving through snow and battling extremely cold weather. That's what happened to Mr. Kim -- he just didn't have the cold weather experience that people in other parts of the country are used to.
Posted By Anonymous JB, Manhattan, KS : 4:35 PM ET
James had the balls to go out there and find help, even though it was a risk to his own life. He isn't stupid, and it's too easy now to say that he should have stayed with his family. after sitting in a car with no food or water for a week, what other options are there? He'll be missed. I liked his cheery informative reviews on CNET.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Santa Barbara CA : 4:35 PM ET
"You weren't the first, you won't be the last" Those were the rangers first words to us as he pulled us out of the snowy remote road we were stuck in. Lucky for us, after one cold sleepless night in a Dodge Durango with our two young daughters and dog, a 911 call was answered even though we had no service. We were only 25 miles out of town in the Tahoe National Forest on a paved road, out for a picnic. It was a sunny day, we knew the road and were doing a loop that we have done several times. Unfortunatly, the road wasn't plowed or marked as closed. We kept going through several snow packs, assuming it would be get clear around the next turn. Never mind the fact we think we are seasoned outdoors people, we were still caught off guard and stranded. No one knew where we were, we could have been on the moon. My heart aches, knowing a fraction of what they went through, up to the decision where James left to save his family. My husband was getting ready to leave us when the 911 call was miraculously answered. My thoughts and prayers are with the Kim family, and consider James a hero. I just wish at the first sign of snow on the road, they would have turned back. Thats what we are going to do from now on.
Posted By Anonymous Annette, Newcastle CA : 4:35 PM ET
You just don't go into an area like that unless you know what you are doing, you know where are, and you are prepared to endure conditions like that. I don't think you can ever be fully prepared, but you just don't tempt fate. I have lived in Oregon my whole life and there are certain parts of the state that I don't go to unless I have someone with me that knows that area really well. My whole life my mother told me don't be that lost hiker on TV for my sake. It seems like once a year you get a story about a lost hiker, but it usually does not end with Tragedy. I truly feel sorry for Mr. Kim's family. My heart bleeds for them.

Ted Werner
Posted By Anonymous Ted Werner, Bend OR : 4:36 PM ET
The real rule of threes in this case is:

1. Stay with the vehicle.
2. Do not abandon the vehicle.
3. Wait in the vehicle.

It is a sucker's bet for an unprepared (poor clothing, no map, no compass, etc) hiker to walk out under these conditions. With very few exceptions, someone who abandons a vehicle to walk out will end up either dead or nicknamed "lucky." You need to play the odds and walking out is not a good bet. It is a very sad story and while I admire Kim's heart, the outcome was predictable.
Posted By Anonymous Tony Zipple, Chicago IL : 4:36 PM ET
A shame what happened and my thoughts go out to the family...he is not a hero but he made a heroic, self-sacrificing decision. Just a shame that the whole situation could have been averted if they had stayed on roads that were being used and had brought appropriate gear (apparently not one of them had any cold weather clothing with then). I mean, maybe if this was central plains, USA, I could understand, but Oregon is not exactly known for its flatness nor abscence of snow
Posted By Anonymous Colin, Milwaukee Wisconsin : 4:37 PM ET
James Kim's choice to leave and seek help after a week of being lost, proves that regardless of whether you have a survival kit, or know the Three Threes in life, etc., you have to make the hardest choices that may or may not seem logical but that are solely based on survival.

His choice to seek help provides us not with irony to have stayed put, but with pure hope that if he didn't seek help, his entire family would have died. Clearly, he didn't know that help was on the way. Thus him seeking it.

In the end, James Kim did not die in vain. He died defending his family from hopelessness.
Posted By Anonymous Ricardo Cervantes, San Francisco, Ca : 4:38 PM ET
I find it absolutely disgusting that there are people here posting derogatory comments about Mr. Kim. He obviously saw the sheer desperation in his wife and children's eyes, and for all of you who say that he was an "idiot" for leaving them should be completely ashamed. His bravery is most admired.
Posted By Anonymous Lola Richmond, VA : 4:45 PM ET
It was a calculated gamble. He had no way of knowing or perhaps even judging if the time or cold would take his infant before rescue. He chose to hedge against that possibility by venturing forth to seek help. Probably for him at the time it was the right decision. It is sooo easy for us couchdwellers to second guess the actions of incident survivors or deceased. Rule of 3's looks like a good thing to follow in general.

David Nyman
Posted By Anonymous David Nyman Anchorage Alaska : 4:45 PM ET
James Kim told his wife he would be back in an hour and while he was gone at some point he decided that he would keep going in hopes of finding help to save his family. The mental torture that drove him to keep going on was driven by his overwhelming love for his family. My heart is filled with pain for the entire Kim family but at the same time I admire the love. Every step he took had a purpose. I admire this man for not giving up on his family.
Posted By Anonymous V Fischer, Houston Texas : 4:45 PM ET
I'm surprised no one has mention the one thing that would have rescued the family within hours. A PLB (Personal Locator Beacon). For around $600 this device can call for help anywhere in the world. Cell phones and ham radios don't always work in remote places, but a PLB will. Sure it's not cheap, but what is _your_ life worth?
Posted By Anonymous Bill Holman, Charlottesville, VA : 4:45 PM ET
James Kim was a hero who was only trying to save his wife and two very young daughters without thinking of his own welfare. It is in extremely poor taste to air such a program and to state that "he should have stayed". It is easy to criticize him now, but what would you do if you were in a similar situation? I hope that the roads they were lost on are better marked in the future to prevent another tragedy.
Posted By Anonymous Avery, Mendon MA : 4:47 PM ET
I honestly feel that after waiting 9 days in the car, one of my family memebers would have set out for help as Mr. Kim did. I really do wonder WHY he didn't back track the road he drove on,though? It would appear to be the most logical route, if one does not know the area. My sympathies for the KIms. Thanks for the info on the rule of 3's ,valuable info. And let's be prepared, people!
Posted By Anonymous Christine, Vancouver B.C. Canada : 4:47 PM ET
Better than the rule of three's to remember is another number as well; 98.6. Everything about surviving is keeping your body at 98.6 degrees. Knowing what that takes is key. I live in Colorado and have been stranded, and injured (hi-lift jack knocked me unconcious). I overestimated my ability to make it across a pass in winter. Unfortunately the Kim's overestimated their ability to travel in winter as well. My condolences.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Littleton, Colorado : 4:56 PM ET
What I don't understand is how some of you can call Mr. Kim an idiot? When you are put in this position, you DO ANYTHING to save your family, the wife that you love and the kids that you would walk across burning coals to protect. And as for the story, I think it comes at a great time to warn people so that this doesn't happend again in the future.

No shame on this reporter, shame on you .
Posted By Anonymous Janine F. Staten Island, N.Y. : 4:56 PM ET
This is a sad story and the survivalist comments are good, but the best have been to MARK impassible, dangerous roads. The other one is to check the weather reports and judge the wisdom of traveling. Having taken a few wrong turns in my life, I can relate.

This story brought to mind the story of the two little boys lost in the woods on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota. I lived there one year and the first thing I was told was to never go into the trees without a compass, because 10 feet in equals total disorientation to direction.

These are both sad stories of unintended consequences, but since you are going to the Rockies I hope you talk about the skiers who inevitably will willingly not follow trail markers, warnings etc. and end up putting not only themselves but rescuers in jeopardy.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista,ar : 4:57 PM ET
The entire time after I heard that he had left the car I was thinking to myself "shelter shelter shelter."

Worse comes to worse you can simply dig a hole in the snow like dogs do, is that acceptable?

Posted By Anonymous Ben, Boston Massachusetts : 4:57 PM ET
I think that given the time they had been stranded and the dire situation of his family, James made the best choice he could at the time. Its easy to look back on it now and say he should have waited, but if my wife and children were facing starvation and what appeared to be certian death, I would have done the same thing, try and find help regardless of the odds. God bless James and his family.

C. Kish
San Antonio, TX
Posted By Anonymous C. Kish, San Anotnio, Texas : 4:57 PM ET
As humans we should all believe in the rule that... "one cannot judge unless they've been in the same situation facing the same conditions". We don't know why or how the Kim's ended up where they were. If you read anything about this story from the AP, you can see that the official Oregon State map listed the road as closed for bad weather starting in October, but most maps bought in local supermarkets or convience stores were not marked. Do we know which map they had? I don't. You don't. Only the Kims know.

The man gave his life for his family. Wouldn't you? After nine days, I would have left my family also to seek help. The measure of a man or woman is not what they own, how much money they make, or how many "tech" savvy things they have. The measure of a man or woman is knowing that they have loved and are loved. The greatest gift Mr. Kim gave his family was hope to live and that someone in the world was trying to help them. If you don't have hope, you can't have faith, and then why fight to live. Mr. Kim gave his family the will to continue to live.

We can second guess everything that the Kims did. Should we? No, because we were not there. We can, however; learn from the situation and prepare ourselves for such a situation.
Posted By Anonymous Connie, York, PA : 4:59 PM ET
Most roads in Oregon's Coastal Range are USFS and not maintained by the state or county. These roads are primarily to manage forest resources, occasionally recreation, and only rarely for travel from point A to B. The terrain is complex with valleys and ridges running in all directions. Roads are typically winding and narrow, following close to the direction of the contours.

To travel these roads requires the most updated USFS maps, and an hour or more just to travel 10-20 miles. But even in good weather, with a good map, a good sense of direction, and being native to the area, I become confused from the hairpin turns, steep climbs, and sudden drops into creek bottoms; all-the-while surrounded by the dense forest which obstructs nearly all of the surrounding views.

It's easy to lose sense of direction and distance on these complex roads,
which are unlike any I've travelled in the Rockies. I suspect this family initially was not aware they had veered off of the beaten path. God bless the children - stay on the main roads!
Posted By Anonymous Ron, Lubbock, TX : 5:00 PM ET
I'm not an expert, but I've lived, hiked, and worked in both the California Sierras and the Colorado mountains. There's a big difference between the two: it's likely to be rainier in California (and Oregon), and you can get into more trouble more quickly in the rain/snow mix than you *ever* could in the dry Colorado snow.

Conditions for James Kim were likely as bad as we could ever find at moderate elevations in the continental US.
Posted By Anonymous Bob R., Boulder, CO : 5:01 PM ET
Actually, 3 hrs without shelter is wrong. It's 3 hrs without heat. In the past I was a member of Idaho Mtn. Rescue and we used to teach this to grade school kids. Whenever I drive anywhere in the winter I carry a survival kit with food, water, extra clothes and stuff to start a fire if necessary. This is as essential as a spare tire.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Fuehrer Portland, OR : 5:01 PM ET
There are hundreds of miles of paved roads in the southwestern Oregon coastal range. They are not plowed because there are too many roads. Should each road be closed because of 4 to 6 inches of snow? No. Peoople shouldn't drive on them if they don't have the right equipment. It is not ODOT's fault for not closing the road. I crashed into a snowbank in the northeastern Oregon mountains once. It was my fault...I was driving too fast. Sure, it would have been nice to have a "road closed" sign there. I just got out with my snow shovel and dug myself out.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Flagstaff, AZ : 5:05 PM ET
These people waited (and some died) for seventy-two days before two of them climbed over a ridge and found help on the other side in a day or three: Uruguayan_Air_ForceFlight 571

Mike Couillard and his 10-year old son waited eight days before Mike climbed to the top of a plateau and saw some cabins.

And James Kim may well have understood that he was cutting his own odds to increase the odds for his wife and children: if he made it, they got saved. If they were found and he did not make it, they were saved.

No, he should not have stayed.
Posted By Anonymous Ken Tilton, Wall, NJ : 5:05 PM ET
First, your "3 hours" for shelter is obviously incorrect because Mr. Kim lasted many days and went 8 miles before dying. Second, Mrs. Kim and the children were not rescued by staying in their shelter (they were rescued when they left the car and were seen waving an umbrella). Third, in a remote area on a closed road, there is no guarantee that they would be found in the 21 days (from your list) before they would die with no food. An earlier post said the helicopter pilot that spotted Mrs. Kim said a person who died on the same road in an RV was not found until spring. Was it wise for him to stay in the shelter of his RV until he died?

This list is not helpful to judge the correct actions of someone in a lifethreatening situation.
Posted By Anonymous Wes Topeka, KS : 5:14 PM ET
I appreciate the input from the experts, especially the armed forces instructor above.

Clearly one important thing to do is let others know where you're going and when you're expected.

I personally don't understand if he was able to start a fire and burn the tires that he wasn't able to scrounge enough wood from the forest around him to make a larger fire and attract attention. Any thoughts on that?

God bless him for trying. That's what a real man does for his family. Sadly like many today we don't have the experience and training to take on the realities of a harsh world.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Coshocton OH : 5:14 PM ET
Disheartening to hear so many harsh comments. I am from the northeast originally, and yes, there is something to having grown up in a hrasher climate and knowing the "what-to-do's and "what-not-to-do's." However, everyone must not understimate what this man was running on (very little,-amazing that he had enough energy to venture out) and at a certain point your brain, under duress, is not functioning at top capacity. After 9 days he probably weighed the guilt he would feel for not trying another method or option to save his family. Give the surviving Kim family a break,-they need to not have his memory shattered not criticized in this manner. As the Native Americans say..."walk a mile in my moccasins..."
Posted By Anonymous Lizz- Dallas, Texas : 5:14 PM ET
Agree with the above about people who have never lived in harsh climates. I'm from Minnesota and moved to San Francisco. For people here who have never lived in sub-zero temps or seen how quickly rain can change to snow or temps can drop, it's a foreign concept to them. You don't realize that a mile that seemed so simple in the city can kill you. You learn what to keep in your trunk all winter, how to watch the weather, where to just not go and when to delay/turn back. I can't count the number of times on major highways that I've delayed continuing until the next morning due to snowstorms expected even though the current weather was perfect. I really admire the dedication of this family though and their resourcefulness once they were in the situation. Nine days is an ETERNITY when you are cold, hungry, and have 2 very little kids with you. I admire him for trying as that was an incredible physical effort for someone who hadn't eaten in days. My condolences to the family.
Posted By Anonymous AS, San Francisco, CA : 5:15 PM ET
It would be helpful if CNN had a brief report on the things you can do to survive in these situations. Example: Don't know where the nearest settlement is? Look at night when you can see the lights.
Posted By Anonymous Bruce Small, Tucson, Arizona : 5:16 PM ET
Think of all the things you have done in the past 9 days. The 9 times you have gone to sleep and woken up in a warm bed. The 9+ times you have had a hot shower. The 27 times you have eaten a good meal. NINE DAYS is how long that family was stuck in that car for. You can say "he should have stayed with the car" all you want, but you know what? He did stay. He stayed for 9 long freezing cold days and nights. He did not leave on day 4, 5, or 6. It was day 9. He was obviously a smart man if he stayed as long as he did. This was a last resort to save his family and I think it was very brave and admirable.
Posted By Anonymous Chelsea New York, NY : 5:17 PM ET
no one has mentioned that he may hve folowed the rule about always go downstream;; he knew the road they had come up on was very very long; he saw the creek below him and went down and was following it when he died; unfortunatly the creek went into the Rogue River and not near any civilization at this season; so he was doomed one way or another unless he had been found by searchers; the one benefit to having stuck with the long Big Windy Creek Road would be better chance of being seen by helicopter;
Posted By Anonymous carol oneil, boston mass : 5:18 PM ET
A loving father and a husband can live for

3 weeks without food
3 days without water
3 hours without shelter
3 minutes without air
0 minutes without his family since he is already dead without them
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Houston Texas : 5:18 PM ET
Let's be realistic here. A 'personal locating beacon' device is a great idea, BUT more people are aware of Amateur Radio (Ham Radio). So many of us have friends, relatives, or neighbors who are 'Hams'. Certainly, a 20 or 40 meter band transmitted signal from a mountainous area would be heard by SOMEBODY, and a typical car battery and running engine scenario (to power the radio) would buy you enough time and enable authorities to locate you by 'triangulating' your transmitted signal. There have been MANY cases of rescued hikers and travellers that have used a portable, compact Ham Radio transceiver to successfully summon help. It is easily one of the best investments outdoorsmen can make for their 'emergency kit'!
Posted By Anonymous Yanni Poulos, Alpine, NJ : 5:20 PM ET
He did some smart things like burn tires to attract attention. Waited a week in his car w his family. But broke the golden rule of surviving when you are stuck out in the wilds w your car: Dont leave your car, you will be found. Every year, someone else leaves their car and is found dead of exposure days after the car was discovered. And always travel with plenty of water.
One BIG dont: dont torch the forest to get yourself out of a mess you got yourself into.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Phoenix AZ : 5:30 PM ET
Yes, they took a dangerous route and were unprepared, but we all make mistakes, and sometimes we can't imagine the things that could happen. They thought they were going on a basic road trip, not camping or hiking in the snow. The road should have been closed. And did searchers wait too long before looking for the ping symbol? Very unfortunate that no one saw the tire fire; I guess it was too small and in an isolated area. He must have been so desperate after 9 days, so frustrated and delirious. This is such a sad story. I will try to prepare for the worst now on every road trip I take.
Posted By Anonymous Emily , Washington, DC : 5:31 PM ET
Mr. Kim did what he thought best for his family. No one can do more than that.
One of the things that came to mind was - with all of the "no child left behind" things in education - we DO NOT educate our children on practical survival techniques. we should include survival information in our schools for instances when we might need to survive.
Posted By Anonymous Tricia, Cleveland, Ohio : 5:31 PM ET
I am wondering whether he could have made it back to the town by following the same road back for 37 miles walking / jogging. He was in his thirties.

I hope we can learn from this tragedy and store some essentials (space blanket, rain poncho, an extra old sweatshirt or two) in the trunk.
Posted By Anonymous Robert, Seattle WA : 5:32 PM ET
Nearly everyone, it seems, has a better idea. But at a time of such tragedy for this brave man's family, I believe it it sufficient to say only this:
"Greater love has no one than this,
that he lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13
Posted By Anonymous Roger, Copperas Cove, TX : 5:32 PM ET
Someone asked earlier - Why weren't their cell phones working? I'm from Merlin, Oregon and have spent a lot of time up in the mountains there. There is no cell phone service. It's impossible to get a signal.
Posted By Anonymous Beth, Graham Washington : 5:33 PM ET
The true tragedy of this story is how a poor decision can kill you.

Never leave the highway. Never turn onto an unmarked, gravel road in harsh conditions. Travel with a GPS system.

If you're lost, stay on a main road.
Posted By Anonymous Brenda, Vienna VA : 5:33 PM ET
Mr Kim spent several days with his family waiting for help or for the weather to clear. He did not set out one his own right away to seek help. He got lost and that is how he ended up in trouble. That can happen to anyone driving on unfamiliar roads.

It seems he did not take adequate clothing when he set out to find help. He did not have proper shoes or head cover. After several days waiting he would not have emergency food anyway. He probably did not have enough protection for the weather to get back safely if he did not find help or a likely path to reach help.

Cell phone service does not cover every square meter of the US. It us pure luck that the cell phone company was able to track an SMS message or phone registration in idle mode to the last cell site in contact. Where they were stranded probably had no coverage to make a voice call. If he had at least a handheld GPS receiver, he could mark where he started and know his track to get back. It seems he wandered in a circle and got disoriented ending up closer to where he started than the distance he traveled.

There as lessons in this tragedy for all of us. Anyone can miss a turn and get on a wrong road and decide to move on instead of turning back. We can all end up in a wilderness without cell phone coverage. We can be more prepared by carrying emergency supplies, adequate clothing, and leaving info with friends. The Kims were not considered lost for several days due to the Thanksgiving weekend and not getting back to work the following Monday.

He did what he thought best after waiting several days to be rescued. Unfortunately, he had no GPS to mark his tracks to fid his way back to where he started, and he did not have enough clothing for the severe weather. He probably also did not find food in his trek in the snow. And, he probably found no safe shelter under trees or rocks to keep warm and rest.
Posted By Anonymous John, Plano, TX : 5:33 PM ET
Why judge or criticize? There is absolutely not positive outcome doing so. Just learn and pray for the Kim family.
Posted By Anonymous A.M. Cerritos, CA : 5:36 PM ET
I admire Mr Kim. However, he probably should have stayed with his family.
Posted By Anonymous D Marcum, Hurst Texas : 5:36 PM ET
I've thought about it and there is no question in my mind I would have done the exact same thing he did without hesitation. Given a choice, I'd much prefer that I die trying to save my family than wait around and possibly watch them die before my eyes. What husband and father wouldn't have reacted the same way?
Posted By Anonymous Charles Brown, Chicago IL : 5:36 PM ET
What if his wife and kids were in danger? What if there was an immenent risk amongst them while he was gone? Not knowing the area, with such wicked weather and treterous terrain theres no reason a rational person would consider there being human help ahead. And what about the trek back? How was Kim going to get back? I feel that just like the crocodile hunter, man's instinct kills man once more, even though his courage was great, the courage circumvented the rational and lead to his untimely death. He should have stayed with his family and waited for help, the death venture should not have been taken.
Posted By Anonymous Alex, Wheeling, IL : 5:36 PM ET
I grew up in Southern Orgeon/Medford area and actually was home for Thanksgiving. I was planning to drive to my Seattle home on Monday but due to the storm warnings being issued for low level snow storms, I packed my car, with chains, extra food, flares etc. and made my way home with no problems. Snow storms are rare in the area that the Kim family found themsleves. To get so much snow west of the casecasdes is not common. In all of the years have been been traveling back and forth and have never had the "Snow" experience like this year. Let's not judge him for his commitment to his family!
Posted By Anonymous Tawnia Pfaff , Seattle WA : 5:37 PM ET
I live in Oregon and I don't think even half of the population here understands the seriousness of being prepared.

A flare gun from any sporting goods store is $10.00 or so. Have this, a couple blankets, bottled water and a box of power bars and you'll be fine. Not emotionally fine, but you'll live.

As for Mr. Kim leaving the car, I don't think I can blame him. They were there for 7 days already? I can't imagine... I'm sure he was ready to die for them and thats why he justified leaving. Thats the definition of a hero.
Posted By Anonymous Ken Carlson - Portland, OR : 5:37 PM ET
When you are stuck in the car for 9 days ,when the hope of getting any help starts dwindling, when the supplies start running out - I think any dedicated father would have done the same thing as James - set out to find help. It probably was now or never for him. They didn't know that help was on the way, what if they had to stay there for yet another nine days.

You were a very brave man James Kim ! May you rest in peace.
Posted By Anonymous Dipti Joshi, Palo Alto, CA : 5:37 PM ET
I grew up in rural southwest Colorado, and have always been very aware of how driving conditions can deteriorate, even in the summer. That being said, I hope that the average traveler will learn from this tragedy, and carry survival supplies in their car whenever setting out on any journey. My dad was stranded in a snow storm in the mountains once (before there were cell phones), but was prepared with his sleeping bag, down jacket, winter boots, shovel, food and water, which he always had in his car. He was snoozing the night away when a highway department snow plow stopped and gave him a ride into town. And, for those for you who have quesitoned why they couldn't make cell phones work, let me enlighten you on the rather poor cell phone coverage of most of the western US. One can never rely on a signal being available, even in major cities, much less in the "wilderness". My thoughts are with the Kim family, and I hope that other people will learn to be more cautious in future.
Posted By Anonymous Corrie Welch, Laporte, CO : 5:41 PM ET
To me, I am sorry to say, and I give my heart felt prayer to the family, Kim is no hero in my book. I do remember a sign I saw once and it says "Nobody is useless, they can always be used as a bad example." Maybe more people will start to carry some basic survival equipment, maybe even a GPS since he was a gadget freak, who knows, in their car because of this tragedy. However not, I am sorry, he was no hero in my book. He should of stayed with the car and his family.
Posted By Anonymous Rudy, Salem, Oregon : 5:41 PM ET
If you walk out. Never leave the road. Follow the same route out as you came in.
Posted By Anonymous Dan Leinan, Forks,Wa. : 5:54 PM ET
I just finished reading all the comments and found them to be very informative and some down right hard to read. But my feelings for this tragic story changed too. Road trips scare the daylights out of me, even on sunny summer days. You never expect the worse to really happen, you can imagine all you want. But the reality is, it will and can happen. I now know, thanks to some comments, what to have in my car at all times. I also know that calling people names whether it be a hero or an idiot doesn't do anyone any good. A man, a husband, a father, a friend lost his life fighting for his family. Those names do just fine. God Bless the Kim Family. May you find peace with time.
Posted By Anonymous L. Gatlin Dallas, TX : 5:54 PM ET
I the 107 comments before this one GPS is only metioned once.

True, someone technologically savvy might well have embraced GPS. In any case, my take on this is:

Learn Geography.
Become proficient with a GPS receiver.
Stay with the car.

Maybe - MAYBE - a hike to a peak to see if a cell phone signal can be acquired is a good idea. Be sure to be able to get back to the vehicle. Two adults can survive and provide for two small children better than one adult trying to hike through snow under-clothed.

If you've got three weeks without food, then start building a fire. A BIG fire. Please do not set the forest aflame, but use the gas, battery, spark plugs, etc. to get some flame going. Apparently they burned tires? How could all the local general avation not see that? Remoteness can be harsh, but somebody somewhere can always see a column of smoke. Maybe.
Posted By Anonymous Gregory Elwood, California : 5:55 PM ET
As an Oregonian, I've followed this tragic story with interest. In all the discussion of what the Kims should/shouldn't have done, I've not seen mention of what the B-and-B owner could have done: Ask your patron's location when they call to confirm their reservation--esp. if it is late at night during a winter storm.
Posted By Anonymous Rebecca, La Grande, OR : 6:30 PM ET
I am a proud to say I am from Oregon, infact I grew up 8 minutes from where this all took place in Grants Pass. It breaks my heart ot know he was so close to returning to his car, to his wife and kids. I don't want to 2nd guess what he did, I will say from his unfortunate situation he saved many of us who could be in that situation one day, now that we have learned from his heroic attempt to rescue his family.
I pray for his wife and kids, may they have peace knowing how much he loved them to have done what he did. Such a sad situation for such a good family.
Posted By Anonymous Keily Anderson San Diego, CA : 6:31 PM ET
This incident can be discussed and argued from every angle with most views being right AND wrong. Bottom line for me is that I am going right now to supply my truck and car with water, MRE's, spare clothes and an emergency radio. You won't be arguing about me in this forum.
Posted By Anonymous John Christian, Beckley, WV : 9:52 AM ET
Mr Kim absolutely did the right thing, and anyone would have done exactly what he did after that many days. the hopes of coincidental rescue were minimal, and he indirectly caused his families rescue because they were found only after his tracks were picked up. if he had stayed, none of this would be known until spring.
Posted By Anonymous luke, boston mass : 9:52 AM ET
All i want to say is, we have clear minds because we were not actually involved.
If I was alone, then I probably would stay inside the car and hope for the best, but I would definitely do the same if my wife and daughters were in the car. This is what a real man suppose to do. How many men could do this nowadays?
Posted By Anonymous Nick Lin, New York : 9:53 AM ET
This 'analysis' of the situation by Rick Sanchez is very incomplete. It assumes that
1. The Kims knew that people were actively looking for them, and had some idea where they were. They didn't. Rule 1 should be: "Always let others know when you are expected to arrive, and what route you plan to follow."

2. The Rule of Threes is written for adults, not children. Mr Kim stayed put for an entire week without rescue arriving. He only left when it was clear that his children could not endure much longer.

3. Mr. Kim was within 15 miles of a town the whole time, by paved road with a covering of snow. He had snowshoes. Had he chosen to walk for help earlier in the week, when the temps were in the 40's and 50's, during the day, he could have summoned help in person, or by cellphone, exactly as was done in a nearly identical case in Oregon 2 days ago. I personally think that he knew the 'stay with the car' rule, and followed it for as long as he thought he could, until he didn't have the strength to achieve his last-ditch rescue mission.
Posted By Anonymous G, Birmingham, Al : 9:54 AM ET
This story ended tragically... for everyone. Might things have ended happily if they had stopped before they took an unknown road, and asked someone for directions ?
Posted By Anonymous Sharon Marcus, Silver Spring, MD : 10:00 AM ET
I believe your comments on knowing the truth are correct. As a mountaineer, I have seen Hypothermic effects before and had to deal with the rescue efforts.

The main point from my side would be.....He made a decision and I respect him for that - He was trying to save his family. But I would hate to see another person make a decision based on some of the media coverage � unless you are certain of direction and distance and have the proper gear - most people would be much better "waiting out" the challenge until rescued!
Posted By Anonymous Dan Belling, Charlotte NC : 10:01 AM ET
The moment I read that Mr Kim left the car without a hat made me shutter! Most of your body heat is lost through your head.
I imagine he was almost delirious after a week of no food and the horrendous conditions he had already endured in the car, I can not imagine even 1 whole day in a car with 2 babies.
I am so sad for them.
Posted By Anonymous Charmaine Windsor Ontario : 10:17 AM ET
I think people should reread the information about the Kim's tragic story on the web and understand what exactly happened to them. While traveling back to San Francisco, they missed their intended exit and got lost. They were using a map that was probably out-dated, and had no clue they were driving into the wilderness. Their route was therefore unintended, and would of course, not have been prepared for what was to come. I assume they had a cell phone, which probably could not pick up a signal. While one could argue that they should have brought emergency supplies such as extra food, must realize that Mr. Kim and his family were stranded for over a week before he decided to venture for help. Over one week!
This story is a tragic reminder that we must all be prepared for the unexpected. While constructive criticism is always helpful, please have all the facts straight before commenting.
Posted By Anonymous W. Chen, Seattle WA : 10:27 AM ET
I went to Yahoo maps, Asked for directions from Glendale to Gold Beach Or. It sends me right over NF 23 where the car was found. If I start in Pportland it send me to the coast from rt 5 farther N on Rt 38. Looking at the map, it looks like rt 38 or rt 42 would have been a better choice. Still, since the road was open, and it is aconnector between interstate 5 & 101 on the coast, it is a bit shocking that it was not patrolled for 9 days. I think if anyone is negligent it is Oregon DOT & state police.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Wolfs, Albany NY : 10:31 AM ET
This is so sad. I was praying and pulling for James.

Shelter. Hydration. Signal.

The car provided the most important priority, shelter. Since snow was present they needed a way to melt it so as not to bring core temps down by eating the snow for hydration. (BTW, deydration robs you of the ability to maintain thermal control. High likelihood that James was dehydrated when he left the car.)

Build a huge signal fire in the road and keep it going all day, feeding it with green boughs to create black smoke.

There was another story some time ago about a man in a similar situation on an Oregon road. Although he had truck and camper, he died of starvation at around 40 days. He failed to signal.
Posted By Anonymous Phil Owens, San Diego, Ca : 10:33 AM ET
My heart is with the family, however I feel all of us have to face the question, what would I do??? I live in the upper midwest and carry a simple survival kit. You don't need to be a survival expert. A kit can be made for under $10.00. A good guide is a book titled: "98.6 Degrees:
The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive!" by Cody Lundin. It is a fun read, and simple to follow. A $10.00 book and $10.00 survival kit can save your life and others. Pick up the book. It saved my life when I got caught in a blizzard a couple years ago.
God Bless
Posted By Anonymous Daniel, Minneapolis, MN : 10:34 AM ET
Imagine.......your stuck in your car, in an unfamiliar place, it's snowing outside. Not just a little bit, but a lot. The minutes go by, the hours go by, the days go by. All of your food is gone. You have burned everything you can think of. All you can hear is your 7 month old crying. You look over to see your wife trying to get her to go to sleep, but she can't. Because she is not in her own bed, she is freezing and hungry. You here your 4 year old saying over and over again "I'm Cold", or "I'm hungry, or "I'm bored." You here the desperation in your wife's voice trying to calm the children. After all, it has been 9 days of this over and over again. No one has driven by. You haven't see any signs of life. Just imagine..................
That is why he left the car!
Posted By Anonymous Lindsay, Muncie, Indiana : 10:35 AM ET
I've read all the posted comments and am surprised at phrases such as "not a hero," "idiot," and "should have stayed." The poor man's death was tortuous, brutal, tragic. Let James Kim rest in peace and let us mourn and revere him as we see fit.
Posted By Anonymous LiKang Chin, Cleveland, OH : 10:35 AM ET
Whether or not he made "all the right" decisions" as many debate, it is undisputable that he gave his life in an effort to save his family. For those who considered his actions unwise or those who stooped so low to call him names, his "poor" decisions pale in comparison to your callousness in berating a man who was faced with looking into the eyes of his children and wondering minute after minute whether or not they would survive. It is compassion, not nasty insights or name calling, that should be showered upon this man and his family.
Posted By Anonymous Anthony Hemmelgarn, Knoxville Tennessee : 10:37 AM ET
I probably would have set trees on fire (al least one) with the gas left.
At minimum it brings warmth (and the smoke is easily seen), at worst a global wood fire (but firefighters would then find you - hoping you will not be sued for this).
Terrible story anyway.
Posted By Anonymous Guillaume P. - Paris - France : 10:39 AM ET
As a former Eagle Scout I must ask a simple question. This man had a vehicle that was capable of running. He needed to call for help. Why did he not set the woods on fire? This would have brought help. Why did he at least not build a fire? He had gasoline and a cigarette lighter in the car.

If I am ever stranded the first thing I will do is build a huge fire to signal for help.
Posted By Anonymous Harry Arendt South Windsor CT : 10:39 AM ET
I'm searching for the survival kit information. Where is it?
Posted By Anonymous Eddie, Franklin, TN : 10:40 AM ET
It"s a very sad ending.All of my friends were praying for the family, and all of our best wishes for strength and guidance through this time for the dear wife,and all of the family. We are truly blessed to have such dedicated members of the rescue team! Thank them also, for without them, who knows? With LOVE to all, Dee.
Posted By Anonymous Dee Lawson,Ocean City,MD 21842 : 10:42 AM ET
Buy a GPS. You won't miss your turn, it will show you where you are, and if need be, it will show you how to back-track. A GREAT Christmas gift.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Tanner, Zion, IL : 10:44 AM ET
GPS and Cell Phones are great, but freezing temps and batteries don't mix.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Tulsa, OK : 10:49 AM ET
Although I feel sorry for the whole tragedy, one thing comes to mind. Why not walk back out where you came from.
Stay on that road rather than walk into the wildernes.
His effort was that of desperation and the word Hero does not apply. However I am so glad that his wife was found.
Rest in peace....
Posted By Anonymous E.Lehmann, Concord, CA : 10:59 AM ET
He is a hero to his family !!
Posted By Anonymous KB, Ontario Canada : 11:00 AM ET
It is very tragic for Mr.Kim and his family. But you wonder why the media put so little attention to people being lost and not getting the media attention that Mr. Kim did. I feel and some of my colleagues as well agree that if he didn't work for a major corporation like CNET, and that he had a prominent position in the company, then nothing would have been noted in the media or newspapers. It is a same that not all rescue attempts should be given the same coverage as his did.
Posted By Anonymous Bill,Atlanta,Georgia : 11:14 AM ET
having been hiking in a similar always never know where the road leads ahead or how far it is to anything...easy to second guess but had he just stayed on the road would have probably been found
Posted By Anonymous dean miller,palo alto ca : 11:18 AM ET
Of all the responses to this sad story, one thing struck me...inequity. If they had been wealthier, able to afford a car with On-Star or some service with GPS tracking, they would have been found much faster. I have hope that one day America will start taking care of itself, it's people, and it's land first. Why do we spend billions trying to save Africans or Iraqis, when we have so many needs right here at home. We could have saved this man and spared his family, with an investment in GPS tracking for autos, factory installed, required by the government. The saddest of all, our American bretheren wasn't worth it, our resources went somewhere else. Always remember that a great nation is never conquered from the outside, until it dies on the inside.
Posted By Anonymous Robert, Blacksburg, Virginia : 11:56 AM ET
I don't mean to be mean but calling James Kim an idiot is out of line. Even if you think he is an idiot keep it to yourself out of respect to the Kim family. This man died trying to save his family and some of you are calling him an idiot. That is disrespectful to the Kim family. I would have done the same thing if I was in the same situation as Mr.Kim. He did it for the love of his family.
Posted By Anonymous Jason Houston Texas : 11:57 AM ET
This is not meant to criticize or second guess - I'm just curious if anyone knows the answer: If he had 2 lighters, why didn't he light pine branches and carry a torch with him everywhere he went to keep warm? The pine tar would help the torch stay lit, even in a drizzle. And overnight he could have built a huge fire to sleep next to. It seems to me that this is what the native Americans who roamed that area for thousands of years would have done. I'd appreciate if any experts could offer some insight on this. Thanks. Rest in peace James Kim.
Posted By Anonymous James Cartwell, New Milford, NJ : 5:33 PM ET
Emergency kit, shmemergency kit. The one, single thing, that would have saved Mr. Kim, is if someone knew the route that they were taking. Think how much time was wasted before a full-on search was launched in the correct area.

Sure, this has reminded me to have my car stocked. But the most important thing I've learned is to make my whereabouts known.
Posted By Anonymous Anne; San Francisco, CA : 5:34 PM ET
questions that havent been asked.When is the OR state going to be held accountable for their lack of common sense.Where the helt are the DANGER SIGNS>>The DO NOT ENTERS!!!!!!!!!!$$$$$ is never a replacement for a human life...But it would sure change the way those (LACK) of signs being or have been posted.Maybe God be with this family.I am thriugh prayer...
Posted By Anonymous victoria walker,oakland ca.2;37 pst : 5:37 PM ET
This is extremely disturbing. A brave family faced an unimaginable, but tragically real week of horror that ended in a terrible loss. Now a reporter is "heading into the Rocky Mountains to find out what it is really like to be" in their situation.

What it was "really like" for this family was not an experiment that they volunteered for, complete with expert consultants and a safety guarantee.

Your excursion is merely a camping trip compared to the emotional and phyiscal pain this family experienced, which the survivors will continue to experience for the rest of their lives.

Shame on you for exploiting a real life tragedy.
Posted By Anonymous Melissa, New York, NY : 5:38 PM ET
Anyone with young children knows what James Kim was facing. There's nothing a parent wouldn't do to save his/her children. The fact that they stayed put for over a week shows that he knew that was the safest thing to do. Leaving to find help was undoubtedly he last resort.
Posted By Anonymous John, Naperville, IL : 5:55 PM ET
As someone who goes searching for a blizzard to trek through at 3am, run over 100 miles for fun and climb mountains as my hobby, I know how to survive. I am so sorry for his death, truly! He made some bad decisions and this will likely show up on an episode on the Discovery Channel. Be prepared and protect your family and self. You can walk up the road at 20-30 miles per day. Dude, I hate that he died. I wish he would have made better decisions. Tear that truck apart, use the seats for protective cover, make snow shoes from the trees...anything. The body can survive. So sorry for his family and friends.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Honolulu HI : 5:55 PM ET
Mr. Kim was indeed brave, but made a terrible mistake by venturing out to look for help wearing only a pair of sweats over a pair of jeans, a shirt and NOTHING covering his head. I recall reading that a majority of heat lost from the body is from the head. I'm no outdoor person, but my mother always told me to cover my head when it was cold out.

We can all try to speculate as to what was going through his mind, and we are all likely WRONG. Mr. Kim did the RIGHT THING by venturing out, but I wish he would have given himself a short leash and turned around to head back to his family after an hour or two if he hadn't found anything by then. Since he wasn't wearing proper cold weather clothing, he should have known he couldn't survive out there very long.
Posted By Anonymous M. B. Scott, Irving, Texas : 5:59 PM ET
Jessie, from Helena, MT...I think the term "idiot" is used to describe the wrong person in your comment. Do you not remember that he had two children (one 7 months old) in these conditions for more than a week? With no hope of rescue after all that time, I think he did what any parent would have done. With that short posting you made, I can just picture the type of person who would say that after something tragic like this, and the word "idiot" comes to mind.
Posted By Anonymous Laura, San Fransico, CA : 5:59 PM ET
It appears that there are several contributers to this blog that can survival long than 3 months without love or companionship. This very tragic event could happen to many of us in unfamiliar surrounding with unpredictable weather. I only hope to learn from this, not judge.
Posted By Anonymous Debi, Painted Post, NY : 12:01 PM ET
I'm so sorry that he died, too. But he would have been more of a hero if he had perserved his own life for his family by remaining in place. His roaming around made it almost impossible for the searchers.

There is something unsavory about the CNN report in which Rick Sanchez goes out into the snow. It appears to me CNN exploited this family for ratings by trying "re - create" the conditions. It was almost like a "wakcy DJ stunt" you hear on the radio.
Posted By Anonymous Steve - Peoria Ill. : 1:01 PM ET
I would like to express my deepest symptathy to Mr. Kim' wife and his daughters. I followed the Kim family story on CNN's page and I hoped Mr. Kim would be found in time. I cannot even imagine what it must been like to survive for 9 days under such conditions, and with two small kids. Mr. Kim was extremely brave for trying to fetch help. Again, my deepest sympathy.
Posted By Anonymous AC, Kitchener, Ontario : 4:38 PM ET
It was not the State or County who was responsible for the gate being opened. It was the Bureau of Land Managment(BLM). However, the BLM is responsible for protecting the Land from the people, not protecting the people from the land.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Dallas, TX : 4:13 AM ET
What would I do? Probably everything Mr. Kim did. But, before I left the protection of the car I would listen to news and weather reports on the car radio ( surely Mr. Kim's car had one) to see if I was being searched for and if the search was in the general area of my location. Current and future weather conditions would be vital information. Only with the thought of no help comming would I leave the car. The Kim family has my deepest sympathy.
Posted By Anonymous Vaughn, Jasper, Alabama : 2:56 PM ET
These hikers were not prepared as everyone would like us to believe. Where were thier avalanch beacons? where were thier sattilite phones not cell phones. I'm sorry to say these hikers were not prepared.
Posted By Anonymous Stevej Charlestown NH : 6:51 PM ET
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