The 14-year-old Utah boy who was rescued after going missing this weekend during a hunting trip thought he "should have been dead."
Brayden Neilson of Bluffdale, Utah, went missing after separating from a 21-year-old friend on a hunting trip in northwestern Utah, officials said.
"I really thought I should have been dead," he told ABC News after being released from the hospital. "I started popping off shots out of my shotgun and probably shot about 25 rounds. I started crying and freaking out."
The boy apparently walked from the Ogden Bay Bird Refuge west of Hooper City, where he had been hunting, to the Antelope Island causeway in Syracuse, Utah, according to Weber County Sheriff’s office.
"I could see cops but I couldn't get to them; they couldn't see me," he said. "I yelled as loud as I could."
He added: "I saw two pairs of headlights. I started walking to them. I think God led me that whole way through, all the way through there and I think he found me some help."
About 11 miles and nine hours after the first 911 call, the teen was found around 6 a.m. Sunday morning, almost 50 miles from home. He was found with signs of hypothermia and possibly hallucinating from exhaustion.
“We were in the single-digits out here, so it was pretty cold, and probably colder out by the lake,” Sgt. Josh Gard of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.
Lt. Lane Findlay said, "He was disoriented and confused. Some of the stuff he was saying, wasn’t making any sense at all.”
Brayden had made a cellphone call to his grandfather about 1 a.m. Sunday, saying he would be home in five minute, his grandmother Marlene Nielson told ABC News Monday. She added that the teen’s grandfather, Don Nielson, was able to utter a quick “Yes, you get back here right now,” just before the call was disconnected.
Brayden then attempted to make a call to his other grandmother, but when she picked up, the call was also disconnected, the family said.
The teen’s mother, Shannon Neilson, told ABC News Monday, “My son, to know him, he is a strong-willed, strong-headed young man. If anybody could survive it, it would have probably been him. My other kids probably would not have survived it.”
After searchers found Brayden, his mother said, “I was in disbelief because literally they were five minutes away from turning into a body recovery mission.”
An emotional Brian Neilson, the boy's dad, said he had gone "from calming my own mind to, 'I can't bury him.'"
The family’s main focus is now on making sure Brayden is safe and healthy.
“From now on, he’s going to carry an extra battery,” grandmother Marlene Nielson said. “We all are.”