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Lake Oswego family missing overnight on Mount Hood found safe

WLHS alumnus, kids were hiking, spent night in wilderness
by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Stewart Schmidt and his children pose for a photo after being rescued Tuesday following a night in Mount Hood’s wilderness.

A Lake Oswego family feared lost in a winter tragedy was found safe Tuesday after spending the night in the wilderness on Mount Hood.

Rescuers plucked Stewart Schmidt, 33, 6-year-old daughter Aidan and 15-year-old son Gabe from a wooded area near Timothy Lake Tuesday afternoon and flew them to a command post in Estacada, where they were reunited with family members.

Schmidt, a 1996 graduate of West Linn High School, and his children had left Lake Oswego at about 11 a.m. Monday in search of snow. They were supposed to return from the day trip at about 4 p.m., Monday, according to Schmidt's ex-wife and the mother of the two children.

Rhiannon Schmidt reported the family missing when they didn't return before dark as expected. She told authorities their last known destination was Indian Henry Campground outside of Estacada.

Although it was unclear whether they had what they needed to stay in the car or in the elements overnight, they were equipped for the cold, outdoor weather, Lake Oswego Police Capt. Dale Jorgensen said.

'They definitely have gear because their whole idea was to go up there and play in the snow,' Jorgensen said during the search. 'We don't have any evidence this is anything beyond them being lost.'

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office search teams resumed their efforts Tuesday morning after scouring more than 200 of Mount Hood National Forest roads Monday night.

Volunteers from Mountain Wave Communications also worked with the search and rescue team using 10 four-wheel-drive vehicles that spent nearly eight hours driving mountain roads through the evening and into the early morning hours.

Just before 2 p.m. Tuesday, an airplane crew from the Hood River County Sheriff's Office spotted the missing family walking near Timothy Lake. An Army National Guard helicopter then confirmed the trio's condition and location.

All three were reported to be in good condition.

They apparently were stranded after their Hyndai Santa Fe sport utility vehicle became stuck in the snow in an area without cellphone service.



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