Hunters in Flat Tops found in good shape |

Hunters in Flat Tops found in good shape

Men spent 5 days stranded in Flat Tops Wilderness Area

Zach Fridell

— Three hunters who had been stranded in the Flat Tops Wild­­er­­ness Area since Saturday were rescued by National Guard helicopter Wednesday morning and escaped with no major injuries, a law enforcement spokeswoman said.

The men were separated from their hunting party and reportedly realized they were stranded, Routt County Search and Rescue spokesman Darrel Levingston said.

The men were lost in Garfield County, but three Routt searchers assisted with the rescue.

The helicopter spotted the men near Bugle Lake, at 10,700 feet, at about 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, and rescuers airlifted them out of the wilderness area to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.

Garfield County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis said the men stayed warm by using natural shelter in the trees.

She said their condition was "fabulous" by Wednesday afternoon.

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McGinnis said they were very hungry and thirsty and might have slight hypothermia, but there was no sign of frostbite.

The three men from the Denver area had been missing since Saturday morning.

Two fellow hunters they were with, who got back to the camp safely, reported the men missing Saturday evening.

The three separated men made radio contact with the group Sunday morning and said they were "hunkering down due to blizzard-like conditions," said Mike Alsdorf, a member of Garfield County Search and Rescue.

Because of the weather conditions Sunday, the search didn't begin until Monday, when crews started looking using snowmobiles and ground teams.

Twenty-three searchers continued looking for the men Tuesday in cold weather, and a helicopter started searching by Tuesday afternoon.

The search was halted because of weather at about midnight Tuesday and resumed at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Levingston said Delbert Bos­­tock, Scott Scherer and Jason Weber, of Routt County, went to help with the search, and even after the three hunters were found, they continued to help with four other searches in Garfield County during the day.

There were no reported injuries in those searches.

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