UWSP officials relieved students are safe - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UWSP officials relieved students are safe

It's a situation that could have been straight from a movie. Two UWSP students stranded in the wilderness for nine days. Their only source of nutrition, a little bit of trail mix and rice.

"We were relieved to find out they were okay," UWSP International Programs Director Eric Yonke said.

21-year olds Alec Brown and Erica Klintworth are in New Zealand studying abroad. The couple planned to take a four day hiking trip through hot springs. But, heavy rain and a snow storm prevented the pair from returning.

After nine days, the weather finally let up. And the two found their way to rescuers.

"It drives home the fact the need to be over prepared and keep in contact," Yonke said.

In an email to the Associated Press, Brown told authorities he felt confident in his outdoor abilities and knew the two would survive. He said they rationed their food, "a biscuit and jelly one day and even less another." 

"He put all his skills to the good use and really helped in this crisis situation," Yonke said.

But, for the parents the news of their children missing was like a nightmare. Klintworth's mother told authorities she's only been able to briefly speak with her daughter. But, in a statement she said, "our relief and joy when we heard of their safe return is indescribable."

"These are top notch students," Yonke said. "They are both really outgoing and very good people."

Authorities say Brown and Klintworth were exhausted when rescuers found them. But, that they are in good shape considering all they went through.

The pair is expected to be back in the United States within the next week. But, they still have their final exams left to take in New Zealand.

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