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Family stuck in Crestline for days, low on food and out of medicine, finally freed

Getting help to people stuck in the snow
Getting help to people stuck in the snow 03:15

At first, Mariam Magana and her San Gabriel Valley family enjoyed playing on the snow-filled slopes in the San Bernardino mountain town Crestline. 

But after a severe storm dumped nearly 7 feet of snow in the area and trapped them in their Airbnb, Magana and her family did their best to persevere until help arrives.

"Our three-day vacation turned into a horrific nightmare," she said.

The roads outside of Mariam Magana's Airbnb are inundated with snow, trapping them inside. Mariam Magana

Magana and her family were trapped in Crestline for nearly a week. Magana said she called the county's emergency line, California Highway Patrol and Caltrans but help didn't arrive until Thursday. 

Their cars were buried in snow and that's why they enlisted the help of her brothers-in-law who have a tractor. But her extended family was stuck behind a road closure on Highway 18.

"We've been up here since 6:30 in the morning," said brother-in-law Frank Higuera. "But the roads are closed and we can't get up." 

The ordeal began last week when massive amounts of snow blocked the major highways connecting the mountain communities to the outside world. According to meteorologists, several feet of snow fell in the area. On Monday, the situation became so dire San Bernardino County officials declared a local emergency seeking state and federal help to clear snow from the mountain highways.

According to the county, crews have conducted more than 100 search-and-rescue operations in the last few days. They continued to plow the primary roads while also escorting vital supplies, such as food and fuel. 

For a few days, California Highway Patrol escorted residents back home up the mountain roads. However, the agency suspended the service on Wednesday as fog and snow created dangerous conditions on the roadways. 

"We know our residents have been shut in for some, a week," said San Bernardino County Fire Department Chief Dan Munsey. "It could go on another seven to 10 days." 

Mariam Magana and her family have been trapped in their Airbnb for almost a week now.  Mariam Magana

"We're out of everything," Magana said. "We have six kids in the house. I don't know what to do. We need help."

The San Gabriel mother said that her family was running out of food and water, her Airbnb hosts were kicking them out, and she was afraid her children would experience another life-or-death allergic reaction. 

"They're allergic to something here and we've exhausted both of our EpiPens since Saturday," she said. "We're trying to get out of here."

MORE: Big Bear 'critically low' on food and fuel after severe storm traps residents

Magana's brothers-in-law, with chains and a Caltrans-approved commercial utility tractor, finally made it up to the Airbnb on Thursday.

"I don't know how I could be more grateful to them in getting us out. We're so ecstatic, we're so happy," said Miriam Magana. "Family back home is really worried and nervous"

Raul Magana usually uses his equipment for his landscaping business. This time he used it to pull cars out of snow, chopped down branches, and dug out driveways.

"I helped whoever I could along the way, opened up a path for them," said Raul.

San Bernardino County has an emergency hotline for anyone trapped or in need of supplies: (909) 387-3911. 

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