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Lost Teen Survives 4-Degree Utah Night

Brayden Neilson suffered hypothermia
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2015 8:31 AM CST
Lost Teen Survives 4-Degree Utah Night
   (AP Photo/The Scranton Times-Tribune, Butch Comegys)

After spending a frigid night lost in the marshes of a bird refuge near the Great Salt Lake, a 14-year-old Utah boy was found alive—and is expected to make a full recovery, KSL reports. Brayden Neilson suffered hypothermia and is being monitored for any lasting damage to his hands after being exposed to what Fox13 reports was a 4-degree night. The teen and a friend were hunting in the Ogden Bay Bird Refuge about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City early Saturday morning and the two became separated, with only Brayden's friend making it to their truck. They both placed 911 calls around 9pm, but the information Brayden provided was "confusing and inconsistent," as KSL puts it. "There was some concern he was starting to get hypothermia and was maybe hallucinating," Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Lane Findlay tells KSL.

Police say that attempts to "ping" Brayden's cellphone failed to provide a specific location. Later, the phone's battery died. Hours into the search, which included helicopters, authorities discovered Brayden's sled of supplies, but no Brayden. His brother tells KSL that around 1am, the teen called his grandmother and said he was about five minutes from his Bluffdale home, despite being more than an hour away. "It didn't make a lot of sense," says Findlay. Brayden ultimately walked 6 to 7 miles to the Antelope Island Causeway in Syracuse, where he found a landline and again dialed 911 around 6am Sunday. Findlay says Brayden likely has his warm hunting clothes to thank for his survival; Brayden's brother tells KSL the teen had removed his gloves, and his hands were blue when he was found. (In this case, hypothermia may have saved a skier's life.)

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