BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The families of two hikers with ties to Maryland are breathing sighs of relief. Jason Hiser and Neal Peckens went missing in Montana’s Glacier National Park over the weekend.
Christie Ileto has more.
After days of searching, Cathy Peckens got the call she’d been waiting for.
“Everything broke loose and we just said `He’s been found’ and we were just screaming,” Peckens said.
Her son, Dr. Neal Peckens, and his friend Dr. Jason Hiser were found Monday afternoon, alive and safe, in Glacier National Park in Montana.
The hiker’s family spoke with WJLA about the good news.
“Just to get that news…everyone was just ecstatic,” Peckens said.
It’s news that traveled across the country. Hiser’s colleague, Dr. Neal Rose, fought back tears when he got word.
“Exuberation, excitement. They’re alive and to be back with all of us,” Rose said.
Over the weekend, rescue teams scoured the mountainous terrain, where they located the pair’s car–but no sign of the hikers.
It’s believed the two were attempting a 17-mile loop hike.
Both men are originally from western Maryland and now live and work in Virginia.
Some family members made their way to Montana after the two men missed their flight home from their hike last Friday. Both 32-year-old men were later found safe, with no injuries.
“It’s high fives and goosebumps down the arms. It’s so wonderful to know they’re fine and doing well,” said Denise Germann, spokeswoman for the Glacier National Park.
The Maryland natives are back with their families and Cathy Peckens can finally exhale.
“Unbelievable,” she said.
It’s still unclear what caused the hikers to get delayed but weather may have played a role. Rescue teams encountered snow, wind and limited visibility during their search for the pair.
Authorities say the men were prepared for the harsh conditions.
Chief Ranger Mark Foust says the two men camped for four days at an elevation of about 6,000 feet. They rationed food, collected firewood and sought to attract help with a smoky fire and an SOS message made out of logs.
Foust says a park employee saw colored flagging Monday afternoon that led him to a tent and the hikers.