Kim walked farther than originally thought

state police looking at map
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - James Kim walked more than 16 miles before he died trying to save his stranded family in Southern Oregon's rugged Rogue River Canyon - six miles more than was originally thought, a search official said Saturday.

Phil Turnbull, chief of the Rural/Metro Fire Department in Josephine County, also said that as Kim's wife and two children waited in their car to be rescued, they weren't as close to a fishing lodge as authorities had initially thought.

A field report that had incorrect coordinates for the location of the family car led officials to calculate initially that Kim had walked about 10 miles before dying of hypothermia, Turnbull said.

But the mapping error did not affect the way the search for Kim was conducted or its outcome, Turnbull said.

By the time the coordinates of the car were reported, he said, rescue teams had already tracked Kim, 35, into the Big Windy Creek drainage.

He was found there Wednesday, about half a mile from the Rogue River.

"It really didn't have any impact on the search for Mr. Kim," Turnbull said.

The family left Portland on Nov. 25 on the way home to San Francisco and got stuck in snow after taking a wrong turn at a fork on a little-used, narrow road through the mountains of Southern Oregon.

A vandal had apparently cut a lock and opened a gate to a logging road, officials said, giving the family a choice of routes in dark, snowy conditions.

Kim's wife, Kati, 30, and their two young daughters were rescued Monday, two days after he struck out on foot in search of help.

The map error led searchers to believe that the Kims' Saab station wagon was about a mile from a fishing lodge.

But the owner said he didn't recognize the area as being near his lodge and double-checked.

Instead of being about a mile from the lodge, Turnbull said, the vehicle was 6.37 miles farther along the road than thought, meaning James Kim had walked that much farther than searchers first thought.

"Holy smokes, that was superhuman effort to get that many miles," John James, who operates the Black Bar Lodge, told the Grants Pass Daily Courier, which first reported about the error. His lodge was closed for the winter but stocked with food.

Turnbull said it was important to "set the public record straight" and "to emphasize the efforts Mr. Kim made to rescue his family."