A Silver Lake couple who disappeared after leaving on a road trip to the desert has been found safe near the U.S.-Mexico border, more than 200 miles away from their home, authorities said Friday.
Aaron Morganstein, 33, and Mariya "Masha" Mitkova, 27, were located in good health, authorities said.
A friend said in an email to NBC4 that the couple became lost while hiking and drank their own urine to conserve water during a five-day ordeal that ended when they found a utility worker, who then contacted the U.S. Border Patrol.
They were found Friday morning on Black Mountain Road, south of an immigration checkpoint, Fidel Cabrera, a special operations supervisor for the U.S. Border Patrol Yuma Sector said in an email.
Border Patrol agents offered snacks and water to the couple who refused medical treatment and dropped them off at the Blythe Station Border Patrol Immigration Checkpoint.
Authorities had thought the couple were headed to Joshua Tree National Park or the Imperial Sand Dunes, and sought public help when they couldn't be reached.
A friend said in an email to NBC4 that the couple became lost while hiking and drank their own urine to conserve water during a five-day ordeal that ended when they found a utility worker, who then contacted the U.S. border patrol.
"There are so many ideas we have of what they could have done, but none of it at this point makes any sense," said Steffanie Walk, a friend.
Briana Gonzales said it was unusual that the couple, well-known in their local arts community, didn't call out of work.
The couple's friends set up at GoFundMe page for their search and hired a private helicopter company to comb the High Desert.
Close friend, Michael Kingsey, said the couple grew weary with each freezing night.
"Dude, we are so happy we are alive," he read from a text message Mitkova sent him Friday morning. "There were some points where we didn't think we'd make it."
Mitkova's parents said they were relieved.
"She said, 'Mama, you don't even imagine what we came through'" said her mother, Tatyana Putra, from her home in Portland, Oregon. "I was sure we would die."
Hetty Chang contributed to this report.