"The entire school lit up in cheers, and everybody was just relieved and thankful," his elementary-school principal said after Nante was found.
8-year-old Nante Niemi has been reunited with his family on Monday, May 8, after going missing on Saturday during his family's camping trip in Michigan. It is believed that he got lost while gathering firewood near his family’s campsite in Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The Wisconsin second-grader braved the elements by taking shelter under a log where he was ultimately found.
More than 150 search and rescue personnel from Michigan State Police and local police partners, including nine K9s, were searching the roughly 40 square mile area for Niemi. "The terrain is very remote and hilly with a lot of standing water due to the time of the year. Several seasonal roads are still impassable because of snow depth," the press release from the Michigan State Police noted.
8-Year-Old Missing for 48 Hours in Michigan State Park Found Safe After Sheltering Under Log https://t.co/F9OhDATI9L— People (@people) May 9, 2023
Eli Talsma, an 18-year-old who helped in the rescue efforts, told ABC News that Niemi survived for two days without eating or drinking anything. The boy appeared "to be in good health" when he was reunited with his family. All he “ate” was a few handfuls of snow and avoided drinking the water in the forest for fear of getting sick. “If you didn’t know he was in the woods for two days, you wouldn’t know,” Talsma said.
According to PEOPLE, MSP explained, "Lieutenant Wickstrom says the boy told them he covered up with branches and leaves for warmth and also blanketed the log he was under. He didn't have any food but ate clean snow for hydration. He walked a trail yesterday (Sunday) and when he ran out of trail, he figured the best thing to do was to just stop and wait," authorities added. "They offered to carry him out today, but he told the guys who found him that he wanted to walk!" When rescuers found he seemed perfectly fine.
"I mean, he was just normal," Talsma said. "Nante was just walking around. He was talking. He was asking questions. He said he wasn't hungry. He was perfectly fine, but we did give him a Clif Bar and a banana and some water."
The boy's loved ones are delighted he's been found safe and sound. Even his elementary school in Hurley, Wisconsin celebrated his return. "We announced it to the entire school, and as my colleague said, it was like being at a big football game with our winning touchdown being scored," Steve Lombardo, the elementary-school principal in Hurley School District. "The entire school lit up in cheers, and everybody was just relieved and thankful."
Cover Image Source: Twitter | MSP Eighth District