AP

Teen grateful to be alive after 30 hours in Utah mountains

Jan 9, 2020, 6:46 AM
In this Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, photo provided by University of Utah Health, Nicolas Stacy-Alcantara...
In this Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, photo provided by University of Utah Health, Nicolas Stacy-Alcantara, 17, of Fresno, Calif., poses for a photo at University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, where he is recovering after surviving a night alone on the Utah mountains. (Jen Pilgreen/University of Utah Health via AP)
(Jen Pilgreen/University of Utah Health via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A California teenager who survived nearly 30 hours alone in the snowy Utah mountains said Wednesday he kept himself awake with phone alarms, built a snow cave for shelter and held a special beaded bracelet to keep his hopes up.

Nicolas Stacy-Alcantara, 17, of Frenso, was visiting Utah to see an ex-girlfriend and decided to go for a day-long hike in relatively mild weather last week, he said.

“I love hiking, it kind of clears my head,” he said. The teen took an Uber up a canyon east of Salt Lake City, bringing six peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and 40 ounces of water with him. He planned to be out all day and make it back in time for dinner.

But late that afternoon it started snowing and the temperature dropped, forcing him to stop, he said. His cellphone didn’t have service along his planned route from Millcreek Canyon to Park City.

Eventually, with his feet starting to freeze, he found a spot under a tree with some protection from the elements and built up a small snow cave to keep the wind at bay. He set a timer on his phone to go off every 30 minutes so he wouldn’t fall asleep, and tapped his hands against his chest to keep the blood flowing.

His ex-girlfriend and her mother had called police when he didn’t arrive for dinner, but with darkness falling help didn’t immediately arrive. As the hours went on, he started to lose hope, he said.

Then he found something in his backpack: A beaded bracelet his ex-girlfriend had given him early in their relationship. It reminded him of everyone who cared about him, he said.

After the sun came up, he left the protection of the snow cave, along with his wet clothing and the boots too frozen to tie. Eventually, he found other hikers who had a satellite phone. He was about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from where he had been dropped off, authorities have said.

Search and rescue officials said they found tracks that indicated he had been moving through waist-deep snow, and that he was lucky to survive the night.

The teen was flown out of the canyon by helicopter to University of Utah Hospital, where he has been treated for frostbite on his feet. While he said he’s still numb and in pain, he’s not expected to need any amputation.

Now, he’s looking forward to being released from the hospital in the coming days and returning to finish his senior year of high school. After that, he hopes to study aerospace engineering in college.

“I’m very lucky,” he said. “I shouldn’t even be alive right now.”

Today’s Top Stories

AP

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25: A giant flag of IR Iran on the pitch prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2...
ALI ABDUL-HASSAN and ABBY SEWELL Associated Press

US-Iran match reflects a regional rivalry for many Arab fans

The U.S. team’s must-win World Cup match against Iran will be closely watched across the Middle East, where the two nations have been engaged in a cold war for over four decades and where many blame one or both for the region’s woes.
2 days ago
Irene Cara in 'Fame' (Photo courtesy of Mgm/Kobal, Shutterstock)...
MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer

‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ singer-actor Irene Cara dies at 63

singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie “Fame” and then belted out the era-defining hit “Flashdance ... What a Feeling” from 1983's “Flashdance,” has died. She was 63.
4 days ago
The U.S. Coast Guard ship Bernard C. Webber, leaves the coast guard base, Monday, July 19, 2021, in...
Associated Press

‘Miracle’: Missing cruise ship passenger found OK in water

The U.S. Coast Guard says a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued on Thanksgiving after likely being in the water for hours.
5 days ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
6 days ago
Debbie, left, and Chet Barnett place flowers at a memorial outside of the Chesapeake, Va., Walmart ...
The Associated Press

Walmart shooter left ‘death note,’ bought gun day of killing

According to authorities in Virginia, the Walmart shooter bought his gun just hours prior to killing six employees.
6 days ago
Dry lakebed...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Lawsuit looms over tiny fish in drought-stricken West

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Conservationists have notified U.S. wildlife officials that they will sue over delayed decisions related to protections for two rare fish species that are threatened by groundwater pumping in the drought-stricken West. The Center for Biological Diversity sent a formal notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service last week […]
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Teen grateful to be alive after 30 hours in Utah mountains