Utah Boy Tells How He Was Found by Rescuers in Mountains

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Boy lost in remote Utah forest curled up between rocks to survive cold night.

SALT LAKE CITY — Malachi Bradley was searching for wild mushrooms in eastern Utah when he realized he had wandered too far from the mountain lake where he was hiking with his father and siblings. A 10-year-old boy found safe after more than a day alone in remote eastern Utah backcountry said Tuesday he remembered the survival skills his father taught him and curled up between rocks still warm from the sun to survive the cold mountain night. “It was weird not having anybody with me, but I just kept going.The boy’s location was relayed to a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter, which then landed and picked the youth up — a little more than 5 miles away from where he had last been seen by the Salt Lake County family. Malachi had been learning about wild mushrooms, and he wandered deep into the woods searching for new specimens after a hike with family to a mountain lake.

Over the nearly 30 hours he was missing in the rugged backcountry, he found river water to drink and even tried unsuccessfully to catch a fish with a spear made from a stick. Meanwhile, dozens of search and rescue workers were combing the area on horses and ATVs, as well as in the air, but they couldn’t spot Malachi in the wooded terrain. She had heard about a 5-year-old Arizona boy who wandered away from a campsite chasing grasshoppers earlier this month and died of exposure. “I felt like the forest was so huge,” she said. “They were showing pictures on a map of how many people they had on the ground, and it felt like it was a tiny amount compared to the vast place that was the forest.” As night fell and temperatures dipped into the 30s, Malachi wrapped his T-shirt around his legs, huddled in his jacket and shielded himself from the weather between the rocks. The residual warmth helped him get through the night, though it also threw off infrared heat detectors used by the search teams as it got dark, police said.

Back at Paul Lake, his father, Danny Bradley, and a friend who had joined them for the camping were keeping a fire burning, hoping the boy might wander back on his own. Paul Lake, where the Bradleys had been camping, is near the top of a nearly 10,000-foot mountain, though the terrain around the lake itself is relatively flat. When she saw it land, his mother was overwhelmed with relief. “He’s healthy and he’s coming up and this is going to be all over and it’s not a tragedy,” Chrisman said, describing her reaction to the news. Though the night was cold, Malachi was lucky that temperatures didn’t drop further and no sudden storms developed in the high-elevation area, Norton said.

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