71
      Saturday
      77 / 56
      Sunday
      82 / 59
      Monday
      85 / 61

      A survival story

      A father and son from Albertville, Minnesota are lucky to be alive after being lost while snowmobiling and surviving 28 hours in near minus 20 degree temperatures.

      Benjamin M. Jenny, Sr., 40, and Benjamin M. Jenny, Jr., 19, are in Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital Monday night in good condition. Both men suffered hypothermia and dehydration symptoms.

      Michigan State Police at the Wakefield Post say the two men were snowmobiling in an area near Silver City in Ontonagon County on Sunday. They were last seen leaving a restaurant at 11:30 a.m. Police say the pair was on the trail all day and on a river. While on the river, their snowmobiles began to ice up and stopped. They were stranded in the back country, deep in the woods. It was 5:30, Sunday evening.

      Authorities say at that point they tried to walk out. The snow, at times, was four to five feet deep. They had no survival gear with them.

      The father and son did have a cell phone, but they could not get service. They instead sent a text message about their situation. After that, the cell phone went dead and the weather turned worse. A blizzard was taking hold.

      The Michigan State Police were called in Sunday night about 8:30. Those with the Michigan DNR, the Ontonagon County Sheriff??s Department and County Emergency Coordinator and the U.S. Forest Service were all part of the search and rescue party.

      Several search and rescue snowmobilers started down the trail Sunday night. Around one Monday morning, weather conditions turned them back. The blizzard was too much for the rescue crews. There was an eighth of a mile visibility, winds clocked at 20 to 30 miles an hour and gusting to 40 miles an hour. The search would have to wait until later.

      A State Police official says search and rescue crews wanted to know the last known location for the two men. That??s when the United States Air Force entered the picture. The Air Force was able to use that last text message ping from the men to narrow their location to within four square miles where they were last. That??s where the search and rescue crews headed Monday morning.

      Thirteen people from local, state and federal agencies were involved in the search; they were on snowmobiles and snowshoes. The U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was called in to assist, however, weather socked them in at their base in Traverse City. The Michigan Civil Air Patrol Group 700 also tried to get their fixed-winged aircraft up, but weather made that impossible.

      After a long night in the woods of Ontonagon County, with temperatures of minus 20 and windchills even worse with no way for the men to start a fire, police say they knew they had to keep moving to survive.

      Finally, at 2:11 Monday afternoon, 28 hours after being in the woods, Bill Doan, a supervisor at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, found both men. Doan was on snowshoes.

      The men were taken by ambulance to the Ontonagon hospital where they remained Monday night, alive, in good condition.