This undated family photo provided by the Pershing County Sheriff's Office, shows Tate McIntee. / AP
A Nevada couple and four young children who survived two nights in subzero weather in the mountainous high desert were found safe Tuesday morning by an old friend who had joined the search.
"They just said that they knew somebody was going to find them," said Chris Montes, who was among the 200 people involved in the search on the ground and in the air. "It's a miracle."
Authorities identified the group as James Glanton, 34; his girlfriend, Christina McIntee, 25; their two children, Evan and Chloe Glanton; and Shelby Fitzpatrick and Tate McIntee, a niece and nephew of McIntee. The children range in age from 3 to 10.
They became stranded Sunday after their Jeep Cherokee overturned on an embankment during an outing to play in the snow around Seven Troughs, an abandoned gold mining town 25 miles from their home in Lovelock, Nev.
Pershing County Undersheriff Thomas Bjerke described the family members as being "in pretty good shape" from their frozen ordeal in the wilderness they visited often.
"All are stable with no frostbite issues, but there is a little exposure, of course," said Patty Biachi, a spokeswoman for Pershing County General Hospital in Lovelock.
Authorities began searching for the family members Sunday evening after they did not return or contact relatives or friends. The temperature in Lovelock dipped to 16 degrees below zero Monday night, the National Weather Service said, and it was probably colder in the mountains. Daytime highs reached 20 degrees.
A signal from McIntee's cellphone directed rescuers to the Seven Troughs area, and Civil Air Patrol specialists helped narrow the search area, which is south of Black Rock Desert, home to the annual Burning Man festival.
"The cellphone forensics team pinpointed where they could not possibly be, and their efforts were very time-consuming," said Col. Tim Hahn, commander of the Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. "This morning they provided a key clue that redirected the search and led to the rescue."
Montes and two companions spotted the six from a ridgetop about 11 a.m. Tuesday (2 p.m. ET) and reached the group a half hour later after following footsteps in the snow.
They found them beside their vehicle west of Lone Mountain and near Seven Troughs Mine. Glanton, who works for the Eagle Picher Mine, said they heard searchers blowing whistles and could see helicopters.
"All I know is (James) did one heck of a job keeping those guys safe," Montes said.
They had food and water, and Glanton burned the Jeep's tires for warmth.
"They gave all the food to the kids," said Lacy Constable, another rescuer.
Authorities said the decision to stay put was crucial to their survival.
"They stayed together and that was the key that allowed them to live through this experience. You don't see that that often in search and rescue," said Paul Burke, of the Nevada Department of Public Safety, who directed the search Tuesday. "They did some pretty unusual things, heating up rocks and things. Staying together, that was a big deal."
The round-the-clock search consisted of first-responders and volunteers from five counties, along with the Nevada Air and Army National Guard, the Navy and the Civil Air Patrol.
"This community came together and helped us come to a successful conclusion," Pershing County Sheriff Richard Machado said, fighting back tears.
Emerson Marcus writes for the Reno Gazette-Journal. Contributing: Associated Press; Martha Bellisle, Reno Gazette-Journal.
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Read the original story: Missing Nevada family found 'in pretty good shape'