A group of Montreal college students was found today in a rustic shelter near Jay Peak in northern Vermont.
"All appears well," Don Hall, director of student activities at the college, said in Montreal. "They were spotted on the east side of Jay Peak, near a cabin. The helicopter pilot said they all waved at him and appeared in good shape. They probably had a pretty good adventure, but we're damned relieved."
Hall said the helicopter pilot indicated the 14 student were attempting to walk out of the bashland along the 3,870 foot mountain. A ground search team later met up with the students, ages 16-20 and led by an experienced hiker, Jamey Burwash, 19.
A spokesman at the Vermont State Police barracks in Derby said it would take two or three hours for the students to get down from the mountain. "It's impassable up there for any kind of a snow machine," the spokesman said.
The students were equipped with camping equipment, food and medical supplies, Hall said. "Some of the students are well-equipped and some have had survival training," he added.
Police started their search Monday after being notified that the students were overdue on a hike that began Friday on the Long Trail near the Canadian border. The youths were supposed to return late Sunday. The 10-mile route they had planned to hike would have taken them south, over Jay Peak.
Police and volunteers, hampered by the snow and cloudy skies, abandoned their search at dusk Monday. Authorities said up to 18 inches of snow had fallen on Jay Peak since Saturday, and temperatures at the foot of the mountain were in the 20s Monday.
Meanwhile, another search ended in tragedy when the body of teenage hunter Michael Smyth was found Monday night in the Green Mountain National Forest near Rochester, more than 100 miles to the south.