Six snowmobilers missing for 2 ½ days while a howling blizzard swirled around them were rescued Monday — hungry and cold but...
CONEJOS, Colo. — Six snowmobilers missing for 2 ½ days while a howling blizzard swirled around them were rescued Monday — hungry and cold but unhurt — after taking shelter in a cozy cabin and calling 911 on a cellphone when the storm eased up.
The group, consisting of two couples and two teenagers, broke into the cabin, where they huddled around a gas grill and dined on popcorn and chicken bouillon found inside.
“We counted 18 blankets. We were cozy,” 31-year-old Shannon Groen said after rescue crews on snowmobiles brought the group to safety. “God was looking out for us.”
Groen and the others were trapped by one in a series of storms that killed at least three people across the West, unloaded as much as 11 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada range, flooded hundreds of homes in Nevada and knocked out power to 250,000 Californians.
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The snowmobilers from Farmington, N.M., had set out on what was supposed to be a daylong adventure but got lost and ran out of gas Friday night near 10,222-foot Cumbres Pass, just north of the New Mexico line.
They sought shelter in a cabin near the isolated and snowbound Osier Station, which serves as a summertime stop on a railroad line for sightseers.
Jason Groen, a 36-year-old owner of a car wash, said his cellphone didn’t work in the cabin and bad weather kept him from leaving to find a place where he could get a signal until Monday morning.
Meanwhile, rescuers were hampered by the threat of avalanches, high winds and snow that at some points was coming down at a rate of 8 inches an hour.
When the storm finally broke, Groen hiked up to a point with cellphone reception and alerted rescuers.
Searchers in southern Colorado took advantage of a break in the weather to resume looking for two skiers missing since Saturday near Colorado’s Wolf Creek Pass.
And in Santa Fe, N.M., rescuers were looking for a couple missing since Saturday, when they became lost after snowboarding outside the boundary of a ski area. They called police with their cellphone Sunday and said they had built a snow cave, but authorities haven’t heard from them since.
The storm death toll included a woman who died when she and her boyfriend drove onto a flooded road in Chino, Calif., and a public worker killed by a falling branch north of Sacramento, Calif. One woman was killed in Oregon by a falling tree.
Tens of thousands of Californians were still in the dark after fierce storms downed nearly 500 miles of power lines over the weekend.