Colorado family credits their faith for wilderness survival after being stranded for two nights

Colorado family credits prayer for survival

BAILEY, Colo. -- A Bailey, Colorado family is safe after an ordeal that tested their strength and confirmed their faith. 

Jay Vonesh, his wife and two daughters were on a rafting trip on the Escalante River in Utah when rough weather moved through. The river became a dangerous force.

"Our boats got stuck on boulders, we got swept under the boulders, it was terrifying," said Vonesh.

The family had no choice but to ditch their rafts and hike for help with their dog by their side.   The family was stuck in the wilderness for two nights,

"We had enough food for a day or two, but I had medication that was running out, we just kind of didn't know what we were going to do," said his wife, Julie Vonesh.

Despite the uncertainty, one thing was constant: their faith. Jay is a youth pastor.

"We sat on a sandbar and basically said 'God, can you give us a hand here? We're out of options.'"

"And right then, like the cavalry, within two minutes, this chopper comes flying into our little branch of the cabin," said Mr. Vonesh.

"As soon as I saw the helicopter I started like crying. I was just so happy and I was just thinking about all of my friends at home," said their daughter Janae Vonesh.

"When that helicopter came in, just knowing someone knew we were there and needed help was encouraging," said their older daughter Jessie Vonesh.

Ironically, the chopper wasn't intended for them.

It was flown to find someone else who also was stranded.

Now at home in Colorado, the family has not yet had time unpack from a journey centered on perseverance and prayer.

"You talk about an answered prayer, it doesn't get much more profounder, obvious than that," said Mr. Vonesh.

Since Mr. Vonesh is a pastor, he feels there may be some lessons learned from his family's adventure and may share them with his congregation sometime soon.   

He and the sheriff in Garfield County, Utah also want to express their gratitude toward the rescue workers who helped in the effort to bring them to safety.

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