The plan was for the four children to set out Sunday from the Alaskan village of Nunum Iqua for a short snowmobile ride.
The kids – Christopher Johnson, 14, Frank Johnson, 8, Ethan Camille, 7, and Trey Camille, 2 – ventured out into the snow.
They were due back home by 1 p.m. They never showed.
More than 27 hours later, after an extensive search effort that included police, the Army National Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard, Emmonak Search and Rescue and numerous other local search parties, the children were found alive 18 miles from home.
A helicopter airlifted the children to Bethel, Alaska, where they were treated for severe hypothermia, authorities said. One child was admitted to Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. Hospital for further care. Two children were released, and a third was taken to Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, according to officials.
“I never would have thought that he would make it,” Alphonso Thomas, father of 2-year-old Trey, told TV station KTUU. “. . . Tough kids, all of them.”
Search efforts were complicated by blizzard conditions near the small southwestern village. When the weather started to worsen Sunday afternoon, someone used a snowmobile to search for the children to no avail, reported TV station KTUU.
At about 4:25 p.m. Monday, the children were located 18 miles south of Nunam Iqua. A member of the Emmonak Search and Rescue told KTUU that they had managed to find a shelter there.