Malachi Bradley, center, smiles at his brother Levi as he is reunited with his family, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, in Uintah County, Utah, after being lost near the Wyoming border on Sunday. (Ravell Call/The Deseret News via AP)
Boy lost in Utah found in mountains
September 01, 2015
Malachi Bradley was searching for wild mushrooms. He was in eastern Utah. Then he saw that he had wandered too far from the mountain lake. That was where he was hiking with his father and siblings.
The 10-year-old boy tried looking for a road. He wanted to flag down a driver. But the area about 200 miles east of Salt Lake City was too remote. He remembered the survival skills his father taught him. So, he hunkered down. He stayed between rocks. They were still warm from the sun. The rocks shielded him from the cold mountain night.
"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," Malachi said. He was missing for amost 30 hours. He was in the rugged backcountry. While he was missing he found river water to drink. And he even tried to catch a fish. He made a spear from a stick. But, he was not able to catch a fish.
At the same time people were looking for him. There were dozens of search-and-rescue workers looking in the area. They were on horses and ATVs. They were also in the air. But they could not spot Malachi in the wooded area.
His mother is Molly Chrisman. She was back at the campground in the Uinta Mountains. She was on edge. She had heard about a 5-year-old Arizona boy. He wandered away from a campsite while chasing grasshoppers.
"I felt like the forest was so huge," she said. "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. Malachi wrapped his T-shirt around his legs. He huddled in his jacket. He sat between the rocks. He shielded himself from the weather. The little warmth helped him get through the night. It also had an effect that was not good. It threw off infrared heat detectors. They were being used by the search teams. That was as it got dark, police said.
His father is Danny Bradley. He was back at Paul Lake. He was with a friend. They were keeping a fire burning. They hoped the boy might wander back on his own. Bradley imagined his son alone in the woods as it got later. His dad was scared. He feared his son might be hurt.
"I was just hoping he was able to stay warm enough," the father said.
Malachi heard a police helicopter flying overhead the next day. He knew the searchers aboard the craft could not see him. At least not through the trees. So he started walking again. He found a clearing.
He stayed there. He briefly fell asleep. Then a search plane spotted him from the air. A helicopter landed to pick him up. That was on Aug. 24.
His mother saw it land. She was very relieved.
"He is healthy. And he is coming up. And this is going to be all over. And it is not a tragedy," Chrisman said. Medical staff said he was cold and hungry. Other than that, he was fine.
Malachi was found about 5 miles southeast of where he went missing. That was what Uintah County Sheriff Vance Norton said. It appeared that he wandered down a ravine. And he wandered over a hill. That was before he found the clearing.
The night was cold. Malachi was lucky though. He was lucky that temperatures did not drop more. There were also no sudden storms in the high-elevation area, Norton said.
Malachi said he will go camping again. But next time he will stay close to other people.
"I will learn from my mistakes," he said.
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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How did the sun provide warmth at night?
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