Pair found hypothermic near Hard Rock Hotel, Lake Tahoe
STATELINE — A man and a woman were found unconscious on Dec. 30 in freezing temperatures and were rescued, but the effort and a photo later spurred rumors that two had been found dead.
According to Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Eric Guevin, the man and the woman, both in their mid-to-early 20s, were found in hypothermic state, but they were able to receive medical attention before their conditions worsened.
Following the incident, there was a lot of misinformation circling and the department had to track down rumors in order to clarify the information, Guevin said.
“Someone, I guess through social media, snapped a picture of us loading them in the back of the ambulance and somehow that equated to deaths,” Guevin said.
According to Guevin, the two attended the SnowGlobe Music Festival hours earlier and took a bus to the area of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Lake Tahoe.
They were found unconscious next to garbage cans at about 7 p.m. by Hard Rock security staff, who called emergency personnel and kept the pair warm until paramedics arrived. The two were in an altered state of mind and were unable to care for themselves.
According to the National Weather Service, it was about 16 degrees at the time the pair were found and the temperature dropped to 10 degrees in the following hours.
Both the man and the woman were wearing snow gear, but if the Hard Rock employees had not found them, it is likely they would have succumbed to the weather, Guevin said.
“All things considered the outcome could have been a lot different,” he said. “Security basically saved their lives.”
Guevin also commended the security officers for being aware of their surroundings, which led them to finding the pair.
The two patients were transported to Barton Memorial Hospital, where they received further medical attention.
Guevin said that being stranded in temperatures such as the ones experienced in the South Shore on Dec. 30 can be life threatening. He advised anyone who finds themself in a similar situation to call the authorities for assistance.
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After a period of dry, warm weather, winter returns this week to Lake Tahoe.