A 72-year-old Tucson woman was rescued Saturday after nine days of being stranded in a remote area east of Payson.
A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Public Safety said Ann Rodgers and her dog got stranded on a remote stretch of road near Canyon Creek on March 31 after running out of gas and depleting the charge on her hybrid car.
She then attempted to climb several ridge lines in an attempt to get cell phone service.
DPS said for the next nine days and nights, Rodgers and her dog survived on pond water and plants.
Officials found her vehicle on April 3 on the side of the road, prompting an aerial search over the next two days that went unsuccessful.
On Saturday, officials found Rodgers' dog walking out of the canyon creek area, and a DPS Ranger helicopter was again called in to help search for her.
During the search, the chopper found a "HELP" signal made of sticks and rocks on the canyon floor. Ground crews located a hand written message at the signal indicating Rodgers was proceeding down the canyon.
Further down, the helicopter located an abandoned shelter and after rounding a bend in the canyon, Rodgers was located next to a signal fire, waving at the chopper.
DPS said she was suffering from exposure but was in fair condition. She was transported to a Payson hospital for treatment.
KGUN9 spoke to Rodgers, who says she broke down in tears when crews rescued her.
"I did that for quite a bit because it was emotionally so difficult," Rodgers said. "And to finally, finally have human contact and see they were there -- it was overwhelming."