Medford teen found on Sugarloaf after 2 days
FARMINGTON, Maine (WHDH) -- After nearly 48 hours, a 17-year-old skier was found alive and well at Maine's Sugarloaf ski resort Tuesday morning.
Nicholas Joy, of Medford, Mass., survived two nights in the wild by building a snow cave for shelter and walked toward the sound of snowmobiles during the day. Joy's family said he told them he learned his survival skills from the show "Man vs. Wild."
A Massachusetts firefighter was out snowmobiling and found Joy near Caribou Pond Pass, a trail off the western side of Sugarloaf Mountain. Joy was cold and wet, but otherwise okay.
Joy went missing Sunday afternoon after he and his father split up after taking a chairlift to the top of the mountain. They took separate trails down the mountain and planned to meet in the parking lot to head back home to Massachusetts. Joy’s father called for help when his son didn’t show up, according to authorities.
The teenager walked to the ambulance while snacking on a granola bar after he was found. Joy told 7News he was doing great and simply got lost.
The warden service, the Sugarloaf ski patrol, Marines and Navy seals, among others, had been searching for Joy on skis, snowshoes and snowmobiles since Sunday afternoon. The search was hampered Monday by high winds and blowing snow that limited visibility and caused the search to be called off at nightfall.
Joseph Paul, the snowmobiler who found Joy, was not part of the search party. Paul said he knew the area well and decided to take his snowmobile for a ride to see if he could find him.
"I was searching off the side of the trail looking for any footprints or sign of anybody. All of the sudden I see some footprints walking down the trail. So he had found the snowmobile trail finally and I just gave him a ride out," said Paul.
Paul said Joy had a little over four miles to the ski resort when he was found and brought to safety.
“He said he went off, following the trail and it ended skiing and then he started hiking back up. He decided he was going to take a shortcut and then he got lost,” said Paul.
"He said he watched a survival show and made a shelter with branches and drank out of the stream, so that’s how he survived," said Paul.
Family members said he learned survival skills watching a show, called Bear Grylls - Man vs. Wild. - learning lessons like how to build a snow cave.
Joy was reunited with his family in the ambulance.
“Just as I pictured him. He just said, ‘I’m so glad to see you,’ and I said the same thing,” said Donna Joy, Nicholas’ mother.
“I did happen to show up about a minute after the parents got the news and it was like -- I cried with them. This kind of thing, it’s almost like a miracle,” said John Diller, the general manager of Sugarloaf.
Diller GM called Joy 'one tough kid' and Joy’s mom couldn't agree more.
"Amazing huh? Amazing. Two days, two nights. Strong, smart. He did the right thing. He’s awesome," said Donna Joy.
Joy was brought to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine for evaluation. He will stay overnight in the hospital. Sources told 7News they worked to bring his temperature up and his heart rate down.
Joy’s mom said the one thing he wanted while he was in the hospital was a cheeseburger and fries - a request she was happy to fulfill.