Mum trapped in snowstorm for six days made poignant farewell video to twin sons
It was a video Paula Lane hoped her twin sons would never see – and thanks to the incredible efforts of her brother, they never did.
For the mum's movie was intended as a final farewell message to her family after she became trapped in a snowstorm for six days and feared she would die.
Paula survived by eating tomatoes after becoming trapped in the remote Sierra Nevada mountains in California with her boyfriend, Roderick Clifton.
When their car became stranded in a storm, Roderick left to get help – and tragically died.
As she waited and waited, Paula, 46, became increasingly desperate until she reached the point where she was convinced she would never see her 11-year-old sons again.
And so she recorded on her video camera a message for her boys that she was convinced would be her last words to them.
As she sat shaking and shivering in the stranded Jeep, Paula said: "I'm so sorry this has happened. I just want to come home. As soon as the sun comes out, I'm going to have to try to make it. It's seven miles in six feet of snow. Nobody's ever going to find me here at Burnside Lake."
Yesterday, Paula watched that video on the TODAY Show alongside the brother who saved her, Gary Lane, and his friend, Brian Roff.
"It's really hard," Lane said about watching the video.
"When I first made the tape, I wanted it to be more of a happy goodbye. I knew it was going to be a goodbye, I felt. Once I started talking, I almost felt like somebody else was there with me, and I'm getting to release to somebody.
"It was the first time I cried since the ordeal had begun, and to watch it now, it's surreal."
Paula recalled the heart-rending moment when her boyfriend left their car to get help, saying that she warned him not to head out into the storm but he dismissed her pleas.
She remained in the vehicle for two more days, surviving on a package of green tomatoes and snow. She was not dressed for cold weather and had to use tissues and tape to make socks.
Paula was finally discovered by her brother when he heard her whistling loudly as she was crawling towards the highway for help.
"I'd seen her in many different looks in her life and that look right there, that's the best one I'd ever seen," Gary said.
He and his friend borrowed a front loader that is typically used on construction sites, and they searched throughout the wooded Sierra Nevadas near a campground that Paula used to visit.
She is currently recovering from frostbite and malnutrition in a local hospital, but much of her recovery will be emotional because of the loss of her boyfriend.
Father-of-three girls Roderick left the jeep on November 30 in an effort to seek help but he never returned. His body was discovered on Wednesday, several miles away from the highway.