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New York man found safe after spending five nights lost in Great Sand Dunes National Park

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Posted at 12:53 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 14:53:06-05

MOSCA, Colo – A New York man who got lost while hiking at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve was found safe after spending five nights alone in wintry conditions.

Bryan Skilinski arrived at the park in the morning of Feb. 11 but park staff didn’t realize he was missing until several days later, when they noticed his vehicle sitting unattended in the horse trailer parking lot along Medano Road.

Search and rescue teams set out on Thursday and located Skilinski around sunset. He was about a mile and a half south of the park’s visitor center.

Park staff said Skilinksi was in relatively good health considering he’d spent five nights alone in the park with very little gear. During the five nights he was lost, Skilinksi had to endure snowstorms, high winds and temperatures in the teens.

Skilinski had become lost while hiking in deep snow Saturday, and park staff said he covered many miles trying to find his way back to his vehicle.

“We could not have asked for a better outcome and I want to personally thank all of the staff and search and rescue team members who provided their expertise in helping to locate Bryan,” Acting Park Superintendent Scott Stonum said.

Multiple agencies contributed to the search and rescue effort, including the National Park Service, Alamosa County Search and Rescue, El Paso County Search and Rescue and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

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