ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN) — A 34-year-old hunter, who went missing Sunday near Hideaway Lake, was found safe Wednesday.
Nicholas Benim, of Molalla separated from his group around 5 p.m. Sunday as planned, but was expected to come back a few hours later. Waiting back at their truck, his dad, Daniel Benim, knew something was wrong when Benim didn’t return as the sun started to set.
“Up there the sun doesn’t carry very far and the wind was picking up too,” Daniel said.
Crews began searching for Benim on Monday morning.
Added pressure was put on crews to find Benim quickly as temperatures recently started to fall. Mountain Wave Search and Rescue brought out search dogs to help track him down.
“All of a sudden they said they got him and we were so happy,” Daniel said.
Benim’s key to survival over the 3 nights he was lost was to sleep at night and move during the day until he spotted a Forest Service ranger Wednesday afternoon.
“Nick was prepared,” his brother Bobby Benim told KOIN 6 News. “He was very prepared. He had a compass, a water bottle, a lighter, a little bit of food. He had a solar blanket, he was able to make fires at night.”
Benim did run out of food and water eventually and drank from creeks and streams.
He stopped by the hospital after being rescued to be sure he was OK but is doing well and the family plans to have a party to celebrate his safe return.