For outright courage, it is hard to beat the bravery of four young boys on a snowmachine from Nunam Iqua, a village of about 200 in Southwest Alaska who were lost for more than a day without shelter in a raging blizzard before being found by searchers.
Rescuer Herschel Sundown told KTUU:
“They were on a high snow bank and it had a little bit of trees, a little bit of brush around that area,” he said, “The area that they were in they had dug a 1 foot deep by 3 (foot) wide circular area. And the boys were shielding the youngest brother, the youngest boy.”
The boys were identified by the Alaska State Troopers as: 14-year-old Christopher Johnson, 8-year-old Frank Johnson, 7-year-old Ethan Camille, and 2-year-old Trey Camille. Three of the boys are brothers, and the other an uncle, KTUU reports.
All are suffering from severe hypothermia.
When searchers found them, they assessed the situation, and, “We began taking off our clothing and placing it on the boys and from there we began assessing the rest of their body to make sure they were okay,” Sundown said.
Alaska is not without its share of stories about heroism and courage and beating the odds, but there is something stirring about four boys lost in a blizzard having the fortitude to survive and protect the youngest among them in the direst of circumstance. Their actions were nothing short of remarkable.
Their parents, their village, their friends – as well as all Alaskans – should be proud. If these kids represent coming generations, Alaska will be in good hands.