A missing 8-year-old boy who had survived for two days in a Michigan state park by eating snow was found sheltering under a log on Monday, state police announced.
Nante Niemi went missing Saturday afternoon while gathering firewood for his family’s campsite in northwest Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, setting off a sprawling search and rescue effort to find the Wisconsin boy, Michigan State Police said in a release.
More than 150 state and local police personnel scoured the remote and hilly terrain by foot and by air and water, the release said, noting that several roads are still impassable due to deep snow.
The boy had been walking a trail on Sunday, but eventually the path ran out, state police’s Upper Peninsula division tweeted.
“He figured the best thing to do was to just stop and wait,” police said.
To survive, Niemi had “covered up with branches and leaves for warmth and also blanketed the log he was under. He didn’t have any food but ate clean snow for hydration,” police said in the tweet.
Niemi was finally found Monday afternoon by search party volunteers about two miles from the campsite, police said. He is in good health and has been reunited with his family.
Eli Talsma, a friend of Niemi’s who was among the rescue group that found the boy, recalled the moment he heard members of the search party calling out that they had found him, CNN affiliate WLUC reported.
“As soon as I heard that, I grabbed my bag that was on the ground and I started sprinting over to him,” Talsma told WLUC. “I just ran over to him and I gave him the biggest hug. I was so relieved once I saw him.”
Niemi is a second-grader from Hurley, Wisconsin, the Hurley School District told CNN.
“Although our emotions are very raw at this time, we want to acknowledge the extreme outpouring of love and support we received over the past few days,” the school district said in a Facebook post after the boy was found.
CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.