RENO, Nev. — A desperate search for a couple and four children missing for two days in the below-zero cold of Nevada’s rugged mountains turned jubilant Tuesday when rescuers guided in part by cellphone signals and footprints in the snow found them alive and well near their overturned Jeep.
About 200 people had searched by land and air after the group of six failed to return Sunday from a trip to play in the snow near their hometown of Lovelock, in Nevada’s high desert.
“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 inventive things, heating up rocks and things. Staying together, that was a big deal.”
Their Jeep had overturned just off a road. A member of the rescue team said the engine would no longer start, but the group stayed in the upside-down vehicle for shelter, burning the spare tire to keep warm.
“Their father kept them alive and well,” said Patty Bianchi, CEO of Pershing General Hospital, where the six were taken. “Everybody is in good shape. There was no frostbite. They are stable. They suffered a little exposure and dehydration, but that is all.”
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. “We are thrilled beyond words.”
Rescuers began scouring the Seven Troughs Area wilderness on Sunday night for James Glanton, 34; his girlfriend, Christina McIntee, 25; their two children, Evan and Chloe Glanton; and Shelby Fitzpatrick and Tate McIntee, a niece and nephew of McIntee’s. The children range in age from 3 to 10.