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4 Kids Vanished in an Alaskan Storm. Then, 'Tears'

2-year-old among those rescued near Nunam Iqua on Monday
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2020 10:05 AM CST

(Newser) – Four children lost amid blizzard conditions in Western Alaska have thankfully been found alive, though all are suffering from severe hypothermia. The group—identified as Christopher Johnson, 14; Frank Johnson, 8; Ethan Camille, 7; and Trey Camille, 2—had departed Nunam Iqua, a remote village near the Bering Sea, around 1pm Sunday on a snow machine but failed to return as scheduled. Help was requested when they still weren't back by 6:30pm, as winter storm warnings were in effect throughout the area. CNN notes the National Weather Service warned of a wind chill as low as -45 degrees, which could "cause frostbite in as little as 10 minutes to exposed skin."

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Local, state, and federal agencies took part in the search before the children—cold, famished, and exhausted—were found some 22 hours later, per the Anchorage Daily News. Searchers on foot located them 18 miles south of the village, where they'd reportedly found shelter, per KTUU. They were then taken to a hospital in Bethel by helicopter. "It immediately brought me to tears," Alphonso Thomas, father of 2-year-old Trey, says. "I never would have thought that he would make it ... People usually don't make it." A rep for Emmonak Search and Rescue suggests the children got lost. "Our storms are very bad," the official tells CNN. "Sense of direction is not to be played with." (Read more rescue stories.)

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