Teen Grand Junction snowmobiler rescued after cold night in the woods
GRAND JUNCTION ” From his makeshift campsite where his snowmobile bogged down, 15-year-old Axel Urie could hear searchers calling his name though the freezing night, but they couldn’t hear his answering shouts, a family friend said.
But on Monday afternoon, about 24 hours after he became separated from his family, Urie was spotted by a search helicopter and rescued, cold and exhausted but alive.
“He’s just definitely thankful to be back,” said Chris Gaurmer, the boyfriend of Axel’s mother, Ann Urie. “Thank God he’s back.”
After a brief union with his family, Axel Urie was taken by ambulance to a hospital.
Urie had become lost in the Grand Mesa National Forest on Sunday, where Gaurmer, Urie and family members had gone for a snowmobile trip. Relatives began searching immediately and then called the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department when snow, wind and fog pushed into the area, Gaurmer said.
Gaurmer said Urie told him that after his snowmobile bogged down in the snow, he dug two snow caves that collapsed before building a third that held up.
The temperatures dipped into the low 20s and several inches snow fell during the night. When he got cold, Urie would walk around outside, where he sometimes heard the rescuers but couldn’t make himself heard, Gaurmer said.
Searchers aboard the helicopter were following tracks in the snow Monday afternoon when they saw Urie waving his arms. Herb Else, a searcher on a snowmobile, was the first to reach him.
“He said to me, ‘Man, I am glad to see you. I don’t know if I could make it another night,”‘ Else told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
Else said he was moved to tears.
“He may not have had any tears in the eyes, but I did,” Else said. “When you can find somebody like that, alive, its extremely gratifying.”
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