Missing Couple Sought in Joshua Tree Natl Park Found Safe

The pair planned to drive back-country roads in the park on Saturday. They were reported missing the next day.

The couple missing in Joshua Tree National Park have both been found safe, said family members Tuesday night.

Kristina Melnyk told NBC4's Robert Kovacik her mother and friend were rescued by helicopter late last night. Kovacik added Kristina says her mom told her she was ok and that she loved her.

Tony Nosow, of Landers, and Helen Melnyk, of Lakewood, were reported missing by family members Sunday night. They had planned to drive back-country roads in the park on Saturday, according to park officials.

"What if he flipped the car over? You know, the boulders out there are the size of a couch and sometimes you have to go over them," Kristina Melnyk said.

Melnyk, 56, has short brown hair, blue eyes, glasses and is 5-foot-1 and about 210 pounds. Nosow, 59, has long grayish-white hair and a beard, hazel or brown eyes, is 5-foot-9, about 230 pounds and walks with a cane. His truck is a dark blue or gray Chevrolet Silverado, license plate 32248B1.

Kristina Melnyk last spoke with her mother on Saturday as the 56 year old drove into Joshua Tree with Nosow, a friend she's known since childhood.

Staff saw the truck enter the park about mid-morning Saturday. It was being driven by a man matching Nosow's description, park spokesman Joe Zarki said, adding that it's not clear if the pair is still in the park.

The truck, which Kristina Melnyk said has a dash-mounted laptop, is equipped with a GPS-tracking device, but no cell signal means it can't be activated.

Rangers, California Highway Patrol aircraft crew and volunteers have combed some 1,200 square miles but have been unable to find the couple or the truck. A missing-persons report was filed with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in Lakewood, Zarki said.

Kristina Melnyk said she's determined to find her mother, and she's sticking to the park.

"She’s there and I am going to get her and that’s what’s going to happening," she said.

For additional guidance, she's turned to Ed Rosenthal, the hiker from Culver City who survived six days in Joshua Tree two years ago. His advice to Kristina: "Just don't give up."

We'll have much more on this breaking news story on Today in L.A.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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