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Six people missing after Nevada snow excursion found safe

Source: Reuters - Wed, 11 Dec 2013 01:46 AM
Author: Reuters
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(Adds details on group's ordeal and rescue)

By Riley Snyder

RENO, Nev., Dec 10 (Reuters) - A couple and four young children missing in frigid weather since they went on an outing to play in the snow on Sunday in a remote mountain range in Nevada were found alive on Tuesday huddled inside their overturned vehicle, a sheriff's dispatch supervisor said.

The couple had taken their two children and the woman's niece and nephew, who range in age from 3 to 10, to an abandoned mining camp in the Seven Troughs range of northwestern Nevada, Pershing County dispatch supervisor Sheila Reitz said.

When the group did not return home, a wide-scale rescue operation was launched, backed by helicopters and airplanes. Fears grew for their fate, with unseasonably cold temperatures plunging to minus 21 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 29 Celsius) on Sunday night and remaining well below freezing the following night.

On Tuesday, a volunteer rescuer using binoculars spotted the couple's overturned Jeep in a gravel pit about 17 miles (27 km) from the town of Lovelock, said Paul Burke, search and rescue coordinator for the state of Nevada.

The six were found in good condition and were treated at a nearby hospital for mild hypothermia, said Gail Powell, spokeswoman for the Nevada Division of Emergency Management.

The vehicle had skidded off the road on Sunday, and the family members kept warm by huddling in the truck and setting a handful of small, short-lived fires using the truck's spare tire as well as nearby vegetation, Burke said.

Rescuers, who narrowed the search area in part by tracking cellphone signals, credited the group's survival in large part to the family hunkering down together instead of setting out in search of help.

"Everybody is looking at this like it's a miracle," Powell said. "They were savvy enough to figure out what to do to stay alive but everybody was quite concerned because temperatures hovered so low."

Reitz identified the adults as James Glanton, 34, and Christina McIntee, 25. The children were identified as Shelby Schlag-Fitzpatrick, 10, Tate McIntee, 4, and Evan and Chloe Glanton, ages 5 and 3. (Reporting by Riley Snyder in Reno; Additional reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky from Olympia, Wash.; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Leslie Adler, Berenard Orr and Mohammad Zargham)

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