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Medford Teen Found Safe After 2-Day Search At Sugarloaf Mountain

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine (CBS) — A Medford High School student who got lost while skiing at Maine's Sugarloaf mountain Sunday was found safe Tuesday morning.

The Maine Warden Service said 17-year-old Nicholas Joy was located at approximately 9 a.m.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports


At a news conference Tuesday, Lt. Kevin Adam, the search coordinator, said Joy was following a trail Sunday by himself, went out of bounds and got lost.

He built a snow cave for shelter and spent two nights in it as search teams looked for him.  He also drank water from a nearby stream.

Snow cave
Snow cave built by Nicholas Joy while he was missing on Sugarloaf Mountain. (Photo from Maine Warden Service)

The Warden Service said Joy made some short searches to and from his cave to look for help Monday after hearing snowmobiles in the distance.

Joy went back out Tuesday morning and found snowshoe tracks left by searchers. He followed the tracks to Caribou Pond Road where he was found by snowmobiler Joseph Paul of Warwick, Massachusetts. Paul, a firefighter, was not part of the search party.

"I happened to hear about it this morning that they were still looking for him, so I said 'Well, I'll come down this way and see if I can find him," Paul told WBZ-TV.

"I wound up running into him. He came out of the woods and got onto the trail. He'd been walking for about a mile in the tracks, so I stopped and picked him up."

"I said 'I think there's a lot of people looking for you,' and he says, 'Yeah, I've been out here for two days.'

Joy was reported missing Sunday afternoon after failing to meet up with his father.  They split up and took separate trails from the top on Sunday.  Joy's father called for help when his son didn't show up.

A search team of nearly 100 people searched in-bounds and out-of-bounds areas on skis, snowshoes and snowmobiles late Sunday and all day Monday.

When he was found Tuesday, Joy was taken to an ambulance where he met his parents.  They traveled to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, where Joy was examined.

"He looked great.  He was coherent," Paul said.  "He was in remarkable shape for being in the woods for two days."

Joy, moments after his rescue. (Credit: Maine Warden Service)

Joy is a senior at Medford High School.

"The students and staff are overwhelmed with relief and happiness that he was found safe and secure. It has been a difficult few days to say the least," Medford High headmaster John Perella said in a statement to WBZ-TV.

Maine Warden Service Cpl. John MacDonald told WBZ-TV that the estimated cost for the search is about $10,000 to $15,000.

Maine does have a law that could allow for them to charge the Joy family for the cost of the search.

There is no intention of doing that at this point, MacDonald said.

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