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Missing Utah man found in Montana

Facebook: Search for Kaden Laga

HAMILTON, Montana — A Utah man that has been missing in the Bitterroot Mountains in southwest Montana on Sunday has been found.  He’s now safely back with his family.

Laga’s wife Arden posted to Facebook early Friday morning that her husband was healthy and well after he “walked into one of the camps set up.”

She says that he was doing well enough to stay the night and that he will be flown out by helicopter Friday morning.

Kaden Laga, 25 was in the Twin Lakes area just south of Missoula near the Montana/Idaho border with family when he got separated from his family Sunday afternoon while they were riding horses.

NBC Montana reports that one of the horses went lame. Laga’s mother said the family made plans to meet back up at the trailhead, but Laga never showed up.

Laga’s mother, Debbie, spoke with KSL about what her son did to stay alive.  She says he would only sleep for roughly three hours every day and he spent the rest of that time walking.  Luckily for him, there were food sources all around him.

“He ate grasshoppers and ants, and he said, ‘Did you know ants are kind of sweet?’  There were tons of huckleberries and there was lots of water everywhere that he was,” she says.

Her son reportedly searched for a trail for several days and couldn’t find one until Thursday.  She says he didn’t necessarily care where it led.

Laga says, “He hit the trail down by the creek and he said, ‘Finally, my luck is changing.  I can follow this trail and it’s going to lead me to something.’  So, he was walking and says he saw a light on the ground up ahead.”

That light happened to be next to the tent of Laga’s friends, who was one of several parties of friends and family members to look for him.  Laga is calling it a miracle, saying it couldn’t be just an accident.

“Kaden said he saw the tent and yelled, ‘Hello!  Hello!’ and they said, ‘Hello!’  He said, ‘I’m lost and I need help and [her friend] said, ‘Are you Kaden?’” Laga says.

Those friends were able to hike out of the area and a helicopter was sent to retrieve Laga.  His wife and mother ran to hug him after they landed.  Debbie says her son is in high spirits, although a little skinny from eating insects.

(Contributing: Paul Nelson)