West Linn teens found safe after two nights in wilderness - KPTV - FOX 12

Lost teen hikers: 'Taco Bell wasn't going to come to us'

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Teens reunited with family Teens reunited with family
Bradley Nelson (left) and Jackson Chandler (right) Bradley Nelson (left) and Jackson Chandler (right)

Two West Linn teenagers have been found safe after two rainy nights in the wilderness east of Molalla.

They were spotted Monday afternoon by a driver heading down the road who was not part of the search crew. The teens were brought back to the search command center, where they hugged family members.

Jackson Chandler, 17, and Bradley Nelson, 16, are both in good condition and did not require any medical attention.

"I was definitely concerned. I didn't want to be spending the night out there," Jackson said. "(I) said a prayer and asked our heavenly father for direction on which way we needed to go."

Jim Hanchett, a youth leader at the boys' church, said their return came as welcome news to family and friends.

"(We're) relieved and really grateful. As soon as we found out, prayers were being offered of thanks and gratitude so everybody is feeling really good," he said.

On Sunday, Nelson's father told FOX 12 the boys are experienced hikers. Both teens are months away from being Eagle Scouts.

The teens said they had a compass, knives and a camping stove they used to keep warm at times.

They didn't have any food, however, but did drink a lot of water. They found a tree that blocked a lot of the rain so they could sleep.

"The thing that we had to keep telling ourselves was put one foot in front of the other," Jackson said. "Taco Bell isn't going to come to us."

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office first received a call about the two overdue hikers Saturday night.Officials said Chandler and Nelson went on a day hike at Table Rock east of Molalla. When neither teen returned, family members called search and rescue crews.

Neither boy had hiked the trail before, Nelson's father said.

Officials started searching the area Saturday night and continued Sunday.

About 50 search members covered the area on foot and ATVs; however, unrelenting rain and fog made visibility low.

"I'm really thankful that they went through all that to try to help us and find us and I know they put a lot of effort into it," Bradley said.

Search and rescue crews located the teen's pickup a few miles east of the Table Rock trailhead and focused their search in that area.

The teens were found more than six miles from their truck. They told searchers they got turned around and just kept walking until they found a road.

At least one helicopter from the Oregon Air National Guard joined the search Monday to help look for the boys.

By 2 p.m. Monday, the boys were found safe.

"I'm so grateful for all the love and everyone who came out here and helped look for us," Jackson said.

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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