SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A California teen was reported missing in Millcreek Canyon for nearly 30-hours before he was rescued. Wednesday, he spoke publicly for the first time about his experience.
When Nicolas Stacy-Alcantara – who goes by Nico – left Thursday morning on a hike that was supposed to begin in Millcreek Canyon and end near Park City, he said he did not think his trek would end like it did.
“The wind started picking up, the snow started picking up and I noticed I wasn’t going to make it back all the way,” said Stacy-Alcantara.
The 17-year-old teen from Fresno, California, said he had a trail map on his cell phone and was on his way back when he knew he needed to “hunker down for the night.”
Stacy-Alcantara – who notes while he could see his location, said he did not have service to call loved ones but said he never thought he was missing.
So, he built a snow fort to keep the wind off his back. But as the night wore on, Stacy-Alcantara said his feet and hands began to go numb. And at times, he didn’t know if he was going to survive.
Preparing for the worst, he wrote letters to his family saying goodbye.
“I pray you guys find happiness after I’m gone,” Stacy-Alcantara said. “Just that, I love you guys, you never did anything wrong. Don’t blame this on yourself. This was a dumb mistake in the first place.”
And just when he thought it was the end, he remembers looking at his bracelet.
“I’ve always had it through my hardest times, and I know that whenever I played with it, it always gave me kinda like a little spirit,” Stacy-Alcantar said.
During Friday’s search and rescue efforts to find Stacy-Alcantara, his mother, Jennifer Stacy-Alcantara, recalls the fear of the unknown.
“I think one of my biggest fears was what If they don’t find him. I’ll never know what happened to him,” Jennifer Stacy-Alcantara said.
And when officials told her the news that her son was alive, and she saw him walk out of the helicopter, she said at first, she thought he was a search and rescue member.
But then a double take led to this kind of response:
“And then I’m like, that’s my kid. It was the most amazing feeling ever. To see him alive and walking and talking,” Jennifer Stacy-Alcantara said.
When Nico Stacy-Alcantara was found by back-country skiers and rescued by search and rescue crews on Friday, he walked out of a helicopter with no shoes and just socks.
He said that he had an extra pair of socks and when he changed them and went to re-tie his shoes, he couldn’t because his hands were frozen.
As he continued to hike, his boots fell off – leaving his feet exposed to winter elements.
Following his rescue, medical officials at the University of Utah said Nico Stacy-Alcantara has hypothermia on his feet. But the good news is that he won’t lose any toes.
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