Crews find missing hikers in San Juan County

Published: Monday, Nov. 25 2013 9:50 a.m. MST

Five hikers missing since Sunday were found late Monday morning and reportedly were safe in the Elk Ridge/Dark Canyon area.

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MONTICELLO — Five hikers missing since Sunday were found safe and in good conditions late Monday morning.

Crews had been looking for a group of five women and men — college students from Colorado and California, all between the ages of 18 and 21 — who were reported overdue Sunday after a backpacking trip in the Elk Ridge/Dark Canyon recreation area of the Manti La Sal Mountains.

After a snowstorm hit the area Friday and Saturday, the group called family members Sunday morning, indicating that they were trying to get back to their vehicle to drive home, said San Juan County sheriff's deputy Alan Freestone. When the group failed to return, family members reported the hikers as missing Sunday afternoon. Freestone said he thought the hikers had been out since Thursday.

Crews searched the ground area until dark on Sunday with no success. Their search included the trailhead where hikers told family members their truck was parked, but crews did not find the vehicle there when they searched Sunday evening, Freestone said.

A helicopter spotted the group Monday. Rescuers used snowmobiles to reach them and transport the group out of the area.

Rives Jacaruso, 20; Kathryn Jacaruso, 18; Abram Mamet, 19; and Nina Lundstrom, 18, all from Colorado; in addition to Jackson Foster, 21, of California, were taken out of the area by San Juan County search and rescue crews, examined by paramedics and transported to San Juan Hospital to be treated for possible frostbite.

— Whitney Evans

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