Searchers rescue stranded snowmobilers near Mount Rainier

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by KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 26 at 1:29 PM

Two snowmobilers are safe and sound after spending two nights in a snow igloo in Mount Rainier National Park.

Search and Rescue teams arrived back at base camp with the rescued snowmobilers around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

"It was a long night and a half, or however long we were up there. I lost track of time," said Glenn Markovits, who was stranded with his girlfriend.

King County officials said the 44-year-old Markovits and 41-year-old Renee Bennett, were out on a popular snowmobiling trail near Blowout Mountain Sunday and were heading back to Twin Camps when they were caught up in whiteout conditions. [MAP]

They dug a snow cave, built a fire and spent the night in the cave. 

"We were well equipped," Markovits said. "We had lots of food, lots of water, Powerade, Gatorade. We had extra clothing, multiple pairs of gloves."

Early Monday morning, the man hiked out to where he could get cell phone service and called for help. He was able to send out texts to give coordinates on where they were.

Curt Stanhope, who often rides snowmobiles with Markovits, helped with rescue efforts.

"His radio was talking to my radio," Stanhope explained. "That allowed us to pinpoint his location."

Searchers found the couple at about 11:30 p.m. Monday. The woman was reportedly showing signs of hypothermia, but King County dispatchers said they apparently did not need medical attention.

"You learn by experience and circumstances," Markovits said. "They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I must be stronger because I'm not dead."

"I'm just very happy that everybody came and got us, and I'm very grateful for them," Bennett added.

Between 40 and 50 people were involved in the search.

KING 5's Elisa Hahn contributed to this report.

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