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Friendship helps lost Minnesota snowmobilers survive Wyoming wilderness

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Six friends from Hastings who got lost while snowmobiling in the Wyoming wilderness say their bond helped keep them unharmed during a long night in the rugged, remote back country.

FOX 9 talked to some of the men, who live within 10 miles of each other and have been friends for years. Kyle Ryman, Aaron Piney, Brent Zyene, Travis Krinke, Max Jacoby and Richie Jacoby were stranded in Wyoming's Bridger Teton National Forest on Tuesday night.

The Casper Star Tribune reported that the men, who are experienced snowmobilers, left the Togwotee Mountain Lodge on rented sleds and didn't return at the end of the day. The Hastings Star Gazette reported that's when Wyoming rescue crews and local law enforcement personnel were alerted.

Richie Jacoby said the group was heading back to their lodge in heavy snowfall. As darkness approached, a foot of new snow made it more difficult to stay on the trail. Two men in the group got stuck in a ravine as the sun was setting.

“There was so much snow,” Richie Jacoby said. “We were wore out and weren’t gaining any ground. We got to an area where it was safe, and we all agreed – we’d just camp out, build a fire and regroup in the morning.”

They had a shovel, a few bottles of water, some candy bars, matches and a saw. They had cell phones, but were in an area with no coverage, so they got to work setting up camp.

"We made a decision to hunker down and make a shelter, and shack up for the night," Krinke said.

They got a fire going with the gas from the snowmobiles to stay warm. The temperature was in the low-20s overnight, but with their gear they were able to stay relatively warm. The next morning as they were discussing a plan to address their predicament when they heard rescue crews who helped them return to the lodge.

“It was a relief,” Jacoby said. “We pulled in, and everybody was waiting. They were impressed that we were all in good shape. They couldn’t believe it when we walked in the door, all six of us, and we looked normal.”

“After they realized they weren’t getting out, they did the right thing,” Teton County Undersheriff Bob Gilliam said. “They hunkered down and built a fire and stayed warm and dry.”
KMSP-TV

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