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Five snowmobilers found safe after lost in Wyoming mountains

By Kevin Murphy

(Reuters) - Five snowmobilers were found safe on Saturday after going missing Thursday in the Bighorn Mountains of north central Wyoming, officials said.

The adult men were found together at about 1 p.m. local time after an extensive 30-hour search, said Lt. Mark Conrad, a spokesman for the Sheridan County Sheriff's Office. He said they did not report needing medical attention.

The group, made up of two pairs of fathers and sons and a fifth man, disappeared after setting out Thursday afternoon from the Bear Lodge Resort for a snowmobile ride in the mountains, Conrad said. Authorities were alerted early Friday morning that the men were missing, and they launched a search with more than 40 volunteers, he said.

Heavy snowfalls impeded visibility, but the men were finally located together near Horse Creek Mesa, Conrad said. They survived overnight temperatures that fell near zero degrees Fahrenheit for two nights, he said.

"They did the right thing. They hunkered down in the snow," Conrad said. "We were elated to find them."

Similar searches that extend more than 24 hours in such harsh conditions often bring grim results, he said.

The men, all from North Dakota, were riding their snowmobiles to an outpost about 20 miles from the lodge to eat. But they failed to refuel their machines for the return trip and ran out of gas, Conrad said.

(Reporting By Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Missouri; Editing by David Gregorio)

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