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Search and rescue teams in Vermont hiked for miles in the frigid backcountry on Saturday to help 23 skiers and snowboarders who had gotten lost, authorities said.
Officers initially received a call around 2:30 p.m. about seven to nine lost skiers and snowboarders near Killington, a town located about 56 miles south of Montpelier, the Killington Police Department said.
Killington police and Vermont State Police search and rescuers determined that a total of 21 individuals, which included six juveniles, were actually lost, according to the department.
A crew of 12 search and rescuers hiked, snowshoed and used skis with skins on the roughly five-mile trek in frigid temperatures to reach the lost party. Temperatures in Vermont at the time had dropped to the low teens and single digits.
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Search and rescue teams first responded to a group of 21 lost skiers and snowboards in the backcountry near Killington, Vermont. (Killington Police Department)
Rescuers escorted the group out of the woods to safety and warmed them up in a Killington Fire Department Heavy Rescue truck and inside the personal vehicles of crew members.
As the crew was ready to leave the area, a second call came in about two additional skiers lost in the backcountry. The team sent six members into the woods to reach the lost skiers and walked them to safety at around 7:30 p.m.
The rescue team later got a call for two more skiers who had gotten lost in the backcountry. (Killington Police Department)
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“A special thanks should be given to all the volunteers who responded and worked this call,” police said.
Just hours before the initial rescue call, police warned the public in a post on social media to stay in bounds when venturing into the backcountry.
Police posted a photo of a warning sign when reminding the public to avoid going outside the bounds of marked trails amid potentially dangerous winter weather. (Killington Police Department)
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“With today’s temperatures, getting lost or injured in the backcountry could become tragic,” the department wrote.