A Michigan state park played host to an 8-year-old child who went missing while gathering firewood on Saturday during a family camping vacation. The Michigan State Police said that at 1:30 p.m. local time on Monday, members of a search party located Nante Niemi, 8, and he has since been reunited with his family.
Michigan State Police said in a press release that they believe Niemi became separated from his family while foraging for firewood near their campsite in Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
After being missing for 48 hours after being last seen at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Niemi was found safe and sound around two miles from his campground on Monday. The news announcement stated, “He had braved the elements by taking shelter under a log where he was ultimately found.”
According to ABC News, 18-year-old rescuer Eli Talsma said that Niemi went without food or water for two days. Talsma reported that Niemi would gather branches and leaves to use as a makeshift blanket at night.
At one point, Niemi reportedly saw a helicopter circling overhead and sought to signal to it, but the pilot apparently did not see him. Talsma Said, Niemi didn’t want to risk becoming sick, so he didn’t drink the water in the forest.
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Yet, according to Talsma, he “ate” a few handfuls of snow, which served as his sole source of nutrition for the entire two days. As Talsma put it, “if you didn’t know he was in the woods for two days, you wouldn’t know” when they found Niemi hiding under a log.
“I mean, he was just normal. Nante was just walking around. He was talking. He was asking questions. He said he wasn’t hungry,” Talsma said. “He was perfectly fine, but we did give him a Cliff Bar and a banana and some water.”
Michelle Robinson, a spokesman for the Michigan State Police, stated that she had no idea how Niemi had managed to survive on his own, but that he was “in good health and reunited with his family.” The hunt for Niemi, which spanned 40 square miles across a rugged region of Michigan’s upper peninsula, involved nearly 150 search and rescue workers.
You may check out the tweet below for more information about the boy who is 8 years old:
8-year-old Nante Niemi survived for two full days in a Michigan state park after he disappeared while collecting firewood on a family camping trip. https://t.co/sQTCNYXPrn
— ABC News (@ABC) May 9, 2023
Michigan and Wisconsin residents volunteered their time to aid in the search. Elementary school principal Steve Lombardo of the Hurley School District in Wisconsin claimed that the entire K-12 school building erupted in excitement when they heard that second-grader Niemi had been safely rescued.
“We announced it to the entire school, and as my colleague said, it was like being at a big football game with our winning touchdown being scored,” Lombardo told ABC News. “The entire school lit up in cheers, and everybody was just relieved and thankful.”
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