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Texas family found after spending a day trapped in San Juan Mountains

Posted at 9:21 AM, Dec 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-25 11:21:38-05

SAN JUAN NATIONAL FOREST — A Texas family found was found unharmed in the San Juan Mountains on Christmas Eve. They spent nearly 24 hours lost before they were rescued.

The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office said it was undersheriff Eric Berg who found them.

“I’m blessed to be able to fly and have an aircraft that has been modified for altitude and searching and I really like to share that with people when they need help,” Berg said.

Berg was flying his personal plane to search for the mother, father and 12-year-old daughter. They were driving a white rental truck when they got stuck in the snow. The color of the truck made it difficult to spot the family.

“We were hoping it would be a colored vehicle but unfortunately it was a white truck,” Berg said.

The family was heading to Norwood from El Paso, Texas. When they didn’t show up, a concerned family member called police.

Several agencies searched through the night but they couldn’t find the family in the dark. The next morning is when Berg spotted the family’s truck. Minutes later, Berg found the family walking about two miles from the truck.

Berg said the sheriff’s office encourages people to stay with their vehicle in a situation like that.

The sheriff’s office said the family stayed in the truck overnight, relying on blankets and the truck's heat to stay warm.

“It’s a great feeling. I mean, that’s what we do right? We are here to help folks out,” Berg said of finding the family.

Berg hopes this acts as a reminder to not always trust your GPS app in the mountains.

“This happens a fair amount around here. We have people riding on roads that are only passable 3 to 4 months per year and they need rescued,” Berg explained.

No one in the family was hurt.