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3 family members found; 1 still missing

December 05, 2006|From the Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, ORE. — Three members of a San Francisco family missing for more than a week were found alive Monday in a remote area of southern Oregon, police said. A search continued for the father.

Searchers in a helicopter spotted Kati Kim, 30, waving an umbrella about 1:45 p.m. Her daughters -- Penelope, 4, and Sabine, 7 months -- were with her.

They were airlifted to Three Rivers Community Hospital in Grants Pass, where they were in good condition, Linda Rankin, the hospital's vice president for patient care, told the Associated Press.

"Mom arrived in an ambulance smiling and waving," Rankin said, adding that the children also seemed in good spirits.

Rescuers continued to look for Kati Kim's husband, James, 35. He had left on foot two days ago on a rural road headed south to seek help, police said.

Additional search crews were being added to look for James Kim. Oregon State Police Lt. Doug Ladd said there is "a very reasonable chance" that he is still alive; the family said he had some outdoor experience.

The Kims, on a Thanksgiving trip to the Pacific Northwest, saw friends in Portland on Nov. 25, then headed home. They were last spotted at a Denny's restaurant in Roseburg that same day. They had reservations at the Tu Tu Tun Lodge near Gold Beach, but never arrived.

Kati Kim was found near the Rogue River in the area of Bear Camp Viewpoint, near the Curry and Josephine county line. Roads through the area often are used as shortcuts to Gold Beach on the south Oregon coast, but can be impassable in winter. Ladd said the family had sought a scenic route to Gold Beach.

Three Rivers Community Hospital's nursing supervisor, Cynthia Russell, said Kati Kim nursed both children while they were lost because there was no food or water in the car.

"They spoke of Dad trying berries in the area, but they were not sure if they were poisonous," Russell said.

Searchers, including friends and relatives of the family, had been checking state highways that run from Interstate 5 to the Oregon coast and along the coastline looking for any sign of the family, their vehicle or any indication that the vehicle may have traveled off the highways.

The Oregon National Guard Air Unit deployed a Blackhawk helicopter to search the roads in the Bear Camp Road area. Family members also hired helicopters to search the area.

Friends and co-workers of the couple in San Francisco celebrated the news of the rescue and said they continued to hope for James Kim's safe return.

"We are extremely relieved that they have found Kati and the kids," said Sarah Cain, spokeswoman for CNET Networks Inc., where James Kim is a senior editor. "We are cautiously optimistic and hopeful that it will bring more good news about James and his family."

At the two boutiques owned by the family in the city's Noe Valley district, employee Sarah Gion called Kati Kim "a fighter, especially where her two daughters were concerned."

"If anyone could make it through nine days in the wilderness, it would be Kati," Gion said. "We have good faith that they'll find James, too. We're all ecstatic, even though we're still waiting."

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