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Hours Into His Hike, a Text: 'Hey Mom, I Need Your Help'

Joshua McClatchy, missing for 6 days, found dehydrated but alive in Arkansas wilderness
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2019 8:30 AM CDT
Joshua McClatchy.   (Facebook)
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(Newser) – For the second time in a month, a happy ending to a missing hiker story. First 35-year-old Amanda Eller was found relatively unscathed in Maui after vanishing for 16 days. Now those searching for Joshua McClatchy are celebrating in Arkansas after the 37-year-old was found dehydrated but alive Friday night after going missing on June 1, per WFAA and ABC News. How search and rescue teams were able to find him in the dark in the rough terrain of the Caney Creek Wilderness area: Someone finally spotted his flashlight. "Every single person who participated in this rescue operation is incredible," John Obeidin, McClatchy's ecstatic roommate, said in a Facebook post as he listened to the livestream of McClatchy's rescue. McClatchy's sister says that her brother had started off on one of the wilderness area's trails last Saturday, but a few hours into his hike he texted their mother, telling her he was lost.

"Hey mom, I need your help," he wrote, per his sister. "Remain calm and we'll get through this." Those texts, which didn't include a location, were the last anyone heard from the Texas native until Friday night, per ABC. Drones, bloodhounds, and search teams from Oklahoma and Missouri all helped local officials in their search for McClatchy. Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer says McClatchy was finally spotted off-trail by a crew in a National Guard chopper, and when a crew on the ground reached him an hour later, he was in good condition and cheerful spirits. His family says he'd never done a solo hike before, and had gone with bottled water, protein bars, and a filter straw so he could drink murky water if he had to. McClatchy was taken to a local medical center for evaluation. (More on Eller's story here.)

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