Missing snowmobile riders safe

By NIKKI YOUNK

Staff Writer

ONTONAGON – Two snowmobilers who were lost for nearly 24 hours in Ontonagon County during blizzard conditions have been located.

Troopers from the Wakefield post of the Michigan State Police said that 40-year-old Benjamin Jenney Sr. and his son, 19-year-old Benjamin Jenney Jr., were found in good health, but with symptoms of dehydration and hypothermia.

The two Albertville, Minn. residents had last been seen leaving a restaurant at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

At about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, they began to send text messages from a cellular phone indicating that they were stuck in the woods. The last text message, which said that they were attempting to get out of the woods on foot, came at about 8:30 p.m.

Troopers said that the two had no survival gear or other communication devices.

Search efforts continued until 1 a.m. Monday, when blizzard conditions, wind chill values around 25 degrees below zero, and snow depths of up to five feet deep forced rescuers to suspend efforts for the night.

Troopers set up an incident command center at the AmericInn hotel in Silver City. They and several groups of snowmobilers began the search anew at daylight Monday. Air support was unavailable, due to the harsh weather conditions.

When the missing snowmobilers were found that afternoon, they were transported by Sonco Ambulance to Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital for treatment.

Assisting in the rescue efforts were the Ontonagon County emergency manager, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) park personnel, Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Forest Service law enforcement division, DNR conservation officers, Ontonagon County Community Emergency Response Team, Michigan Civil Air Patrol, Air Force Search and Rescue Coordination, United States Coast Guard, Sled Necks of Wisconsin, and many volunteers.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.