- An 8-year-old boy went missing in Michigan Saturday while out camping with his family.
- After a large search and rescue effort, the second-grader was found safe on Monday.
- He told police he ate clean snow and covered himself with leaves and branches for warmth.
An 8-year-old boy in Michigan who got lost while out camping with his family spent two days fending for himself before rescuers found him on Monday.
Nante Niemi went missing in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Saturday afternoon, according to Michigan State Police. The boy went off to collect firewood but did not return to his family’s campsite, prompting them to call police.
Michigan State Police and local police mobilized a search and rescue party of more than 150 people, as well as K-9 units and aviation to search the roughly 40-square-mile area in foot and from the air. On Monday afternoon, a search volunteer located Niemi cuddled under a log about two miles away from the campsite.
“He had braved the elements by taking shelter under a log where he was ultimately found. He is in good health and reunited with his family,” MSP said in a statement.
In another tweet, MSP noted that many had asked how the second-grader survived in the woods, where temperatures were in the 30s and 40s.
“Lieutenant Wickstrom says the boy told them he covered up with branches and leaves for warmth and also blanketed the log he was under. He didn’t have any food but ate clean snow for hydration,” MSP said.
“I’ve slept in big piles of leaves, and just kind of wiggled in the leaves in snowstorms, just to have that insulating effect holding in my core body temperature,” Bigney said. “Anything that’s going to create some dead air space to keep that heat in.”
Officials also said the boy had walked a trail until it dead-ended, at which point he decided the best thing he could do was stop and wait.
The volunteers who found him also offered to carry him out of the woods, but Niemi “told the guys who found him that he wanted to walk!” MSP said.
Hurley School District, where Niemi is a student, said Monday, “Words can not describe the emotions and joy the students and staff are experiencing at this moment!”