2 stranded adults, 4 children found alive after 2 days in Nevada

Watch report from Action News
December 11, 2013 2:58:25 PM PST
A mother and her youngest child were discharged Wednesday from a Nevada hospital a day after being rescued with four other group members who were stranded for two days in a bitter cold mountain wilderness when their Jeep rolled over.

The father of the girl and three other young members of the couple's families were also doing "remarkably well" but will remain a bit longer for observation at the hospital in Lovelock, Dr. Douglas Vacek said.

Some suffered from slight exposure and dehydration, but none had frostbite.

"We were obviously braced for much worse considering the cold," the doctor said.

James Glanton was credited with keeping alive his girlfriend, Christina McIntee, their two children and a niece and a nephew of McIntee in temperatures that dropped to 16 below zero on Monday. The children range in age from 3 to 10.

The 34-year-old mine worker and hunter built a fire just minutes after the Jeep rolled down a snowy embankment on Sunday and kept the flames going until rescuers found them on Tuesday, Vacek said.

"I think that really prevented any serious medical problems," said Vacek, who also praised the group for staying together.

With the engine of Jeep disabled, Glanton removed the spare tire and used it as a fire ring to burn wood and brush to keep the adults and children warm, Pershing County Sheriff Richard Machado said.

"They placed rocks inside the tire and used the rocks to keep the children warm at night," he said.

Vacek said the group had water and some food but no blankets, However, they were dressed in heavy winter clothing for what had been planned as an excursion to play in the snow in the mountains about 100 miles northeast of Reno.

Chloe Glanton left Pershing General Hospital with her mother while James Glanton, Evan Glanton, Shelby Fitzpatrick and Tate McIntee remained under care.

About 200 people had searched by land and air after the group failed to return from the mountains.

Chris Montes, a longtime friend of James Glanton who hunts in the area, was among the volunteers who found the Jeep.

"I think everybody was thinking the worst for a little bit," Montes said. "But it's a small tight-knit community and everybody in town was out there looking for them."

Montes said he and two rescuers with him first spotted children's footprints in the snow Tuesday morning, then followed a set of Jeep tracks until they found the flipped vehicle and the family beside it.

"They just said that they knew somebody was going to find them," he said.

"They stayed together and that was the key that allowed them to live through this experience. You don't see that that often in search and rescue," said Paul Burke, search-and-rescue coordinator for the state. "They did some pretty unusual things, heating up rocks and things. Staying together, that was a big deal."

About 100 well-wishers lined the street outside the hospital and broke into cheers when two of the smallest children were taken from an ambulance. The others walked into the hospital on their own.

"The mood where I'm at's ecstatic," said Col. Tim Hahn of the Civil Air Patrol, which used several planes to search for the group. "We are thrilled beyond words."

A cellphone forensics team analyzed which towers the woman's phone was in contact with during their trip, giving searchers a better idea of where they might be, Hahn said. They were so far out in the wilderness that they apparently were unable to call for help, although there was enough signal strength to leave a basic electronic trail from the early stages of their ordeal, air patrol officials said.

The discovery prompted a wave of relief on social media.

"Very glad to hear the missing family in Lovelock has been found and they are safe!" Gov. Brian Sandoval tweeted. "Thank you to all who worked so tirelessly to find them!"

The Seven Troughs area is named for seven parallel canyons below Seven Trough Peak, elevation 7,474 feet. It is about 20 miles southeast of Black Rock Desert, where the annual Burning Man counterculture festival is held.

Most of the roads are dirt and more easily traveled by ATVs or other off-road vehicles.

Seven Troughs is a popular area for hunting chukars, a pheasant-size winter game bird. ___

Rindels reported from Las Vegas. Associated Press videographer Haven Daley contributed to this report from Lovelock, Nev.


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