Two American students survived nine nights in the freezing New Zealand wilderness after rationing their supplies and warming themselves on natural hot pools.
Alec Brown and Erica Klintworth, both 21, were not found until Sunday after having braved heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures in the area for several days despite not being equipped for extreme conditions, New Zealand's Dominion Post reported.
Search and rescue leader Sean Judd said he "didn't have a good feeling" when he heard the two students were missing, the newspaper reported. "Given the weather and the time delay, (I) was quite relieved when they turned up alive."
Friends raised the alarm after the Wisconsin couple did not return from a trek as expected between June 4 and June 6, the newspaper added.
Brown and Klintworth rationed their food of peanut butter, rice, fruit, and nuts, took dips in hot pools, and slept in a hammock tent strung between trees, the newspaper reported. They were both in "amazingly" good spirits and condition, it added.
Judd told the newspaper that while the couple, both students at Canterbury University, had made some good decisions, such as not crossing a rain-swollen river, their preparedness and attention to the weather forecast was not so good. In addition, the two did not leave their hiking plans with anyone before going out, which meant that rescue officials did not know where to look for them after friends raised the alarm on Saturday, he reportedly said.
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