Outward Bound Group Missing in Sierras Found

A wilderness adventure company says a group of hikers who went missing in the central Sierra Nevada has been found safe.

Brad Mushovic, executive director of Outward Bound's wilderness programs, confirmed to ABC News that the missing group of nine teenagers and two adult guides called the organization after hiking to a nearby store.

They turned up just hours after Fresno County Sheriff's officials launched a search for the group.

The search for a missing Outward Bound group that failed to meet a trip leader at an agreed-upon spot in California's Sierra National Forest Sunday had been expanding, according to local police.

On Monday Outward Bound, a California-based company that offers outdoor education trips around the world, reported to sheriff's office that the group, made up of nine teenagers aged 13 to 16 and two 30-year-old trip leaders, has been out of contact since Sunday.

A third trip leader contacted Outward Bound about the missing group after he spent two days unsuccessfully searching the rural area in the Sierra National Forest where he was scheduled to meet them Sunday before climbing Mount Shinn, Fresno Deputy Christian Curtice told ABC News.

The third trip leader, who was equipped with a satellite phone, left the group Sunday to scout a possible ascent of the mountain. The group was expected to meet him later in the day at the Red Rock basin, but never showed up.

About 30 employees of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office, including a search and rescue team and volunteers on horseback, searched for the hikers. A plane was scouring the area from above this morning. Authorities have also been in contact with the trip leader who got separated from his group, Curtice said.

The search footprint had expanded to 90 square miles, Curtice said, and covers some areas ranging up to 10,000 feet in elevation.

On June 14, the group departed the Maxon Trailhead near the east side of Courtwright Reservoir for a two-week hiking and climbing excursion in the surrounding mountains.

The effort in the Sierras is the latest in a string of rural searches over the last month that have ended with happy reunions.

Lost hikers Patricia Giamoni and friend Salvador Frias, who requested help from Northern California's Mount Shasta, wandered into a town Monday 10 miles from the mountain and two days after making an initial 911 call.

On Sunday, a firefighter found 25-year-old Keith Kennedy, who is autistic and requires medication for a kidney transplant, a week after he wandered away from a camp. Kennedy was conscious and alert, laying next to a creek in an area inaccessible by vehicle.

Authorities in Alaska's Denali National Park scooped up Abby Flantz and Erica Nelson last Thursday after the pair got off-course on what was supposed to be an overnight hike.

Instead, the two women, who had obtained a permit for the trek that laid out their intended route, spent six days in the wilderness and were down to their last crumbs of food when authorities zeroed in on one of the hiker's cell phones as its battery faded. Authorities had been text-messaging instructions to the women before they were located.

And late last month, husband-and-wife Alan Humphrey and Iris Faraklas were found five days after they were were supposed to emerge from a hike in a rugged stretch of Grand Canyon National Park. In that case, the couple had lost their bearings.

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