Montana News

Apr 6, 2011 8:20 AM by Melissa Anderson (KXLH Helena)

Missing man found after 4 days in mountains

A Helena man is in lucky to be alive after being lost in the mountains near Hogback for nearly four days.

Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says that 30-year-old Chris Moratelli is now in St. Peter's Hospital, being treated for hypothermia and exhaustion.

Moratelli was reported missing around 2:30 am on Tuesday morning after taking off for a weekend outing on Friday. He apparently never showed up for work on Monday.

According to authorities, Moratelli parked his Jeep and was going to hike to a Forest Service cabin near Indian Flats to stay the weekend for his birthday.

He was alone in the trek, and due to inclement weather he became disoriented and never made it.

Rescuers found him around 4:15 on Tuesday afternoon laying by the side of the road.

Authorities tell us that his body temperature at that time was about 91, which is dangerously low. Moratelli was able to tell rescuers that he spent the first night in tree well.

Dutton said that Moratelli was within a quarter of a mile of the cabin.

Search and rescue, law enforcement and U.S. Forest Service personnel searched his tracks into the snow but lost them due to inclement weather.

A search helicopter from Great Falls finally picked up on some tracks where they traced him back onto the road.

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