By Sarah Francis
A woman was left stranded from FIVE days in the Grand Canyon after her car ran out of petrol.
Amber VanHecke, 24, from Denton, Texas, USA was directed to a dead end by her GPS.
The quick thinking student made a ‘help’ sign from rocks while she waited to be rescued.
However, on the fifth day, tired of waiting, she hiked for 22 miles until she had signal on her phone.
She was able to call the police and four hours later, as she returned to her car, was picked up by Arizona Air Rescue.
Amber, an International Business student, said: “It’s been very overwhelming and traumatic.
“It’s hard to sleep. Every time I drift off, I jerk wide awake and think I am back there.”
Amber had been enjoying a solo trip to the National Park and was headed for a rural part at the south rim, Havasu Falls Trail Head.
Amber said: “I’ve done a lot of travelling before so I wasn’t worried.
“I had 70 miles in the tank, not including the reserve.
“I followed the GPS down some dirt roads but I just assumed they had been washed out as a lot of the roads are very primitive.
“It began to get dark so I decided to wait until the next morning.”
However, Amber was out of fuel and was forced to wait it out.
For five days she lived off of ramen, pumpkin seeds, almonds, dried mango and pineapple and apples.
Amber added: “A lot of it felt like I was disconnected from reality.
“I kept thinking I would wake up and be safe in my bed.
“It was a lot of panic, but a controlled panic and I put my energy into trying to survive.”
Responding to her call, helicopters eventually spotted her car and the ‘help’ sign.
Amber was picked up and taken by air to a hotel until her family collected her.
Amber said: “It was a lot of relief and crying.
“At first I was hoping I wasn’t hallucinating.
“My parents said they felt like something was wrong but thought I was probably just out of phone signal so they had no idea.”
Amber said she’s going to give it a few months before she takes another trip.
She said: “It will be a while but I still haven’t lost my wanderlust.
“I ruined my body walking that far for signal and I actually can’t walk on my feet at the moment and have to use a cane. “