Elderly couple stranded 2 days after getting lost

Jason Hassler, a helicopter instructor who rescued a diabetic couple in a California Valley, took these photos of their stranded car. KCAL

(CBS News) CASTAIC, Calif. - An elderly diabetic couple was left stranded in rural southern California for two days after getting lost and having car trouble.

A helicopter instructor rescued Joyce and Richard Larson, both in their 70s, from the Santa Clarita Valley Sunday evening when he saw them as he passed overhead. CBS Los Angeles reports their Nissan got stuck in the dirt Friday after getting lost while running errands. Their car battery soon died.

"I ran into the arms of one of those men who was rescuing us and I said, 'Oh, thank God, my prayers were answered,'" Joyce told CBS Los Angeles.

The couple spent two days in sweltering heat. A last-minute decision Friday to buy grapes, tomatoes and bananas kept their sugar levels up and may have saved their lives.

"We were just so thirsty, it was awful," Joyce said.

She used red lipstick to write "SOS" on the car roof, but got the helicopter pilot's attention by waving her arms. The pilot, Jason Hassler, came down and called the fire department.

The couple was dehydrated and sunburned, but not seriously injured.

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