Rescuers found a 10-year-old boy Monday after he was lost and alone in the remote Utah backcountry for more than a day. He credits a survival skill that his father taught him which kept him from freezing during the night.
Malachi Bradley was learning about foraging and mushrooms, reports Newser. Searching for new specimens to identify, the boy wandered deep into the woods during a family hike, in a remote area approximately 200 miles east of Salt Lake City.
"I went way too far," he said.
When he realized how lost he was, he tried to find a road, but he was in such a remote area that it was fruitless.
But he refused to give up.
"It was weird not having anybody with me, but I just kept going. I knew I had to make it back, or my family would be really sad," Bradley said, reports USA Today.
He drank river water during the day and made a fishing spear, although he didn't catch anything.
Rescuers searched on horses, ATVs, and in the air, but they didn't see the boy. His family had no choice but to wait for him at the Uinta Mountain campground, lighting a fire and hoping he would see it and come back on his own.
“I felt like the forest was so huge,” said his mother, Molly Chrisman. “They were showing pictures on a map of how many people they had on the ground, and it felt like it was a tiny amount compared to the vast place that was the forest.”
Night fell, and temperatures dropped into the 30s. Bradley's family worried that he would not stay warm through the night. Fortunately, he remembered something that his father had taught him and curled up between rocks still warm from the sun, shielding himself from the harsh mountain weather.
In the morning, Bradley heard a police helicopter flying overhead. He knew that the search party wouldn't be able to see him through the trees, so he walked until he found a clearing.
When rescuers found him, he was cold and hungry but otherwise perfectly fine.
Bradley said that he will go camping again, but he will never stray from his group.
"I'll learn from my mistakes," he said.