“We then left and crossed the icy waters only up to our waist,” he said. “We were climbing the mountains under the dense tree cover when we first heard the helicopter we assumed was looking for us. The copter never saw us, and we walked out just fine and met up with the search-and-rescue by the road.”
It was when they attended a debriefing, he added, that “we found out what a big deal all this was.”
Sgt. Judd said the pair made some good choices, particularly by not trying to cross the flooded river, but could have entered the wilderness better prepared.
Mr. Brown said he relied on his past experience hiking and camping and felt confident in the couple’s ability to survive.
“I believe when you go into the bush, you take your life into your own hands and need to be prepared to handle whatever conditions occur,” he said. “We could have been more prepared, but in the end we were prepared enough to walk ourselves out.”
The incident came one month after three Boston University students studying abroad were killed in New Zealand when their minivan rolled. The students were driving to a hike at the time of the crash. A fourth student who was critically injured in the crash has since regained consciousness.