Cross country team saves lost hunter’s life

Cross country team saves lost hunter’s life

Outdoors

Cross country team saves lost hunter’s life

A hunter facing a life-or-death situation was saved by a chance encounter with a cross country team Wednesday after being lost in the wilderness of New Mexico for 36 hours without food or shelter, and enduring freezing temperatures.

“The odds were very much against him,” Cuba Fire Chief Rick Romero told KRQE. “For somebody to even walk through [that area] with the amount of downed trees, it’s almost impossible.”

Ronnie Duran, 65, was last seen hunting near the La Paloma Trail in the Jemez Mountains on Tuesday. He had traveled 10 miles to the Vallecitos area where the Cuba High School Cross Country team was training.

“I was almost finished running and I was making a turn and I see him right there, and I was wondering who it was because no one’s up there,” Osiris Putnam, a runner, told KRQE.

Duran told the runners he was lost and asked for help.

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“After awhile seeing how he was walking and his voice and he could barely walk, that’s when I knew something was wrong with him,” Putnam told KRQE. “We were like, yeah, we can help you.”

When she spotted the team walking across a road, Cuba High cross country coach Mary Lou Gooris was initially taken aback.

“We don’t let the kids walk so we were like, ‘What are they doing?'” Gooris told KRQE. “And there was somebody with them and it turned out they were walking back together as a team with the lost hunter, and he did have his rifle with him.

“We were so proud that the kids right away took this person under their wing.”

Duran was suffering from a sprained ankle and was disoriented when he was found. His family expressed thanks to all involved.

Photo is a screen grab from the video.

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