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With bare essentials, just crumbs to eat, young hikers lost for 6 days in 9,400-square-mile Denali National Park, Alaska, found

Abby Flantz talks to reporters about being lost for six days in Denali National Park and Preserve in Healy, Alaska

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DENALI NATIONAL PARK, Alaska (AP) — Two young backpackers rationed peanut butter sandwiches and granola bars, growing hungrier as they wandered for six days in the dense vegetation of Denali National Park. Erica Nelson and Abby Flantz were down to their last granola bar Wednesday, the day they were rescued. Trekking through the remote park, they regularly clicked on their cell phone until they finally found reception that led to their rescue. "We got a signal and I said, 'Wow, I have to call my mom,'" Nelson told reporters before heading with her family to Houston, where she plans to serve as maid of honor Saturday in her sister's wedding.

What started as an overnight hike June 12 turned into an intensive search that cost more than $118,000 and sometimes involved 100 people from volunteer groups and state and federal agencies, according to park spokeswoman Kris Fister. Rangers estimate the women logged at least 20 miles before they were picked up by a helicopter crew outside the northeastern side of the 9,400-square-mile park, Fister said.

Abby Flantz, of Gaylord, Minnesota, and Erica Nelson, of Las Vegas, Nevada, headed into the park back country on Thursday

Nelson, 23, of Las Vegas and Flantz, 25, of Gaylord, Minn., had no idea they had trigged a search of that magnitude. They were reported overdue when they failed to show up at work Saturday at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, a hotel outside the park. But after a few days of being lost, they did figure that people might be concerned. "We were gone long enough, we knew there might be searches for us, but we didn't know it would be this big," Flantz said.

The women said they each packed only bare essentials, such as two sandwiches and granola bars, thinking that would be enough for their short trek. They brought a compass and a map but still lost their bearing, mistaking one river for another. They tried to follow the river, but that proved impossible many times, Flantz said. "There were steep hills, so we had to get away from them and there was this high brush we had to push through," she said. "I cried a little bit, but not much."

Abby Flantz reunited with her parents Kathy and Jim Flantz Wednesday afternoon

The days wore on and they rationed their food, but ran out of water and drank river water or melted snow. They ripped up a shirt to bandage scratches and blisters. Hiking exhausted them, but they trudged on when the weather was good, hoping their destination was over the next bend. At night they slept in a tent. Along the way, they saw plenty of bear tracks, steering far from the fresh prints. The only wildlife they saw, however, was a porcupine. The last couple of days it rained, so they mostly stayed in the tent, conserving their waning energy.

Johnny Nelson of Las Vegas hugs his daughters Erica and Alecia Wednesday afternoon at the Denali Park airstrip in Alaska

By Wednesday, the cell phone's battery was weak, but Nelson finally got through to her mother, Ellane, who was listening to park officials give a morning briefing on the search. That was the day Nelson's sister, Alecia, and her future brother-in-law were to decide whether to postpone their wedding. Nelson told her mother she and Flantz were alive and well but gave the wrong location of their whereabouts, so searchers couldn't find them. She called her mother again about 3:30 p.m., and officials told her to hang up and text message instead to save the dying battery. Then they were able to locate the signal several miles north of the 100-square-mile area they had been searching.

The search area, about 180 miles north of Anchorage, is a mix of national park and state-owned lands. It includes dense alder and willow, some black spruce forest, but also miles of tundra. Flantz, who plans to return to work on Saturday, said she's not giving up on outdoor adventures — but next time she'll be better prepared.

missing young women hikers found in Denali National Park

Officials said it was unlikely the women merely decided to extend their camping trip. Nelson was scheduled to fly Sunday night to Houston so she could be maid of honor in her sister's wedding. Nelson said she thought a lot about her sister when she was lost. "The whole time I was just, we got to keep going. I got to make it to her wedding," Nelson told KTUU.

Fister said she believed the wedding was still on.

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Photos courtesy of AP Photo/Matt Hage and Laurent Dick

Original Source: Associated Press and KATU

Drivers told to zip lips - NASCAR president Mike Helton says complaining is unfair to fans, who face costly gas, tough economy

Carl Edwards does backflip off of his car after winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

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NASCAR is tired of hearing the negative message some of the stock car sport's driving stars have been sending to fans lately. Too many complaints about the new-generation car, bumpy racetracks and numerous other things, and not enough positive reinforcement for fans.

NASCAR Sprint Cup series UAW-Dodge 400 auto race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas

NASCAR president Mike Helton held a "mandatory" meeting yesterday morning for drivers and the team owners at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Things apparently reached a critical mass last week at Pocono, where it appeared nobody was happy about the rough track or the so-called Car of Tomorrow that is still being developed or the intense heat that had many drivers near exhaustion after a Pocono 500 that most believe shouldn't be longer than 400 miles.

Kyle Busch poses with trophy after winning Kobalt Tools 500 auto race  read more »

"Catch the Baby" - Twins, One After the Other Dropped from Smoke-choked Second-floor Window

father drops baby from burning building into neighbor’s arms below

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A father leans out of a smoke-choked second-floor window. Just released from his grasp, his infant son hurtles backward through the air, pudgy arms flung wide. On the sidewalk below, a throng of men stare up at the baby. One holds his arms up, fingers splayed, ready to make the catch.

The dramatic moment, captured in a black-and-white photo taken by an amateur, has been retold countless times to William Sheridan Jr. since that morning 30 years ago yesterday, when his father, William Sr., dropped him into the arms of neighbor Tom Connally. Just moments before that, his father had dropped his twin sister, Nichole, who was snagged by another neighbor, Jimmy Madden. Minutes later, firefighters used a ladder to save his father and mother, Kathy Sheridan, from the raging blaze that tore through their home on East 2d Street in South Boston on May 28, 1978.

the twins Nichole Shurbaji and William Sheridan Jr. today

"I just remember my husband saying: 'Get up! Get up! Get up!" said Kathy Sheridan, who was 24 at the time. "And as soon as I opened my eyes, the whole apartment was full of smoke." Her husband, who was 25, grabbed the twins, but thick, black smoke blocked the stairway to the street. He broke open a window, and the couple saw neighbors on the street below, screaming, "Throw the babies!" "I just couldn't do it," Kathy Sheridan said. "All I could see was concrete." Her husband took the infants, leaned out, and dropped them. "It was just one of those crazy things," he said yesterday. "And for the most part I don't think about it."

The photo was taken by David G. Mugar, who was then a new owner of Boston's Channel 7 with a hobby of amateur news photography. He was parked in Dorchester when he heard the fire call on a scanner in his car, raced over, captured the shot, and later gave the $5,000 in proceeds from his photos to the Sheridans, whose belongings were destroyed in the fire. The photo won Mugar a number of awards, including second place in a World Press Photo Awards competition in Holland.

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Photos courtesy of David G. Mugar and Globe Staff / Dina Rudick

Original Source: Boston Globe

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