Prince George's County aviation unit rescues elderly woman lost - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Prince George's County aviation unit rescues elderly woman lost in woods

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Maggie Dickens (left) and her mother, Edith Charles Maggie Dickens (left) and her mother, Edith Charles

Prince George's County Air 1 Aviation Unit is being credited with a potentially life-saving rescue. The flight crew found an elderly woman stranded in the bitter cold in Beltsville, Md.

Maggie Dickens of Silver Spring tells FOX 5, "I was like, oh my God, so this is the way it's going to end. I'm going to lose my mother for good."

For years she relied on her mother, Edith Charles, to help raise her children. But these days, it is mom who needs to be cared for. The 79-year-old, originally from Haiti, suffers from dementia.

On Wednesday evening, the two had quite a scare.

Dickens had just picked up her mother and a friend from dialysis treatment around 6 p.m. while dropping the friend off along the 11200 block of Evans Trail in Beltsville. She ran inside to use the bathroom, leaving her mother in the car. When she returned just three minutes later, the car was empty.

"I started yelling her name, yelling and yelling. I got in the car and made circles and circles," said Dickens.

She continued, "The complex is so huge and it was too dark. I was crying in the car and called 911."

It was a bitter 9 degrees, so timing was critical. Prince George's County police mobilized a helicopter equipped with thermal imaging. They noticed a hot spot in a nearby wooded area and were able to guide in first responders on the ground.

Edith Charles was found sitting in several inches of snow, unable to get up on her own. Despite spending 45 minutes in the cold, she was well enough to be released after treatment in an ambulance at the scene.

Dickens says her family will be forever grateful to Air 1 and all of the responding officers and medics.

"Thank you very much for all of the hard work," she said. "It could have turned into something else. I could have lost my mother."

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