Two Jewish Hikers With Special Needs Found Safe After Going Missing In The Catskills

Two lost hikers with special needs were located Friday after going missing in the Catskills. The two were separated from their hiking group on Thursday afternoon, which prompted an extensive search through the mountain terrain of Sam’s Point and Ice Cave Mountain. One of the hikers is 18 and the other is in his 20s. “This was a very fortunate situation that could have been a disaster and it could have ended very tragically,” said Rabbi Abe Friedman with the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office. They were part of a group of 16 hikers and four counselors from a camp in South Fallsburg. Dozens of highly trained search and rescue volunteers jumped into action to search for them, even during an intense thunderstorm in the area. State police, park rangers and members of the Orthodox Jewish community used ATVs, infrared drones and search equipment to find them. “Slippery rocks, you have to be careful with that and up there, there’s a lot of patches with leaves which seems like solid ground, but you step on it and it’s between two rocks,” said Joseph Rosenberg with Matzil Search and Rescue. The search was suspended at 4 a.m. but resumed again later Friday morning. Around 10:30 a.m., searchers from Chaverim of Rockland County spotted one of the hikers and the other was about 50 feet away. “He said come take me out, get me out of here, that’s what he was saying,” said Yoel Loeffler with Chaverim Rockland County. The hikers were dehydrated and slightly injured, but otherwise OK.

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