MULTNOMAH COUNTY, Ore. – Search and rescue crews found a mildly autistic 16-year-old boy who got separated from his family on Saturday while hiking near Horsetail Falls.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team said Alex Irvin is in good condition. He was at Nesika Lodge, which serves as a base for hiking and other activities.
A person staying at the lodge spotted Irvin on the trail and made contact with him around 8:30 a.m. The lodge has a phone for just such emergencies, allowing lost hikers to call for help.
Crews drove up to the lodge via timber roads to retrieve Irvin, a journey of about an hour and a half. They planned to take him straight home.
Irvin spent the night outside, exposed to temperatures in the 20s with no survival gear. He continued hiking up from the point he separated from his party, traveling about seven miles.
Alex's father, Bruce Irvin wasn't surprised his son handled the situation so well.
"Alex is a smart kid. Like a lot of children with autism, he is a very smart boy. He is resilient. He has an excellent sense of direction," Irvin said.
The search began Saturday night just after 7 p.m. when crews got word Irvin had gotten lost at around 2:30 p.m.
By 11:30 p.m., 30 searchers were deployed. At around 1:45 a..m., the Oregon Air National guard brought in a helicopter equipped with night-vision cameras, but it was forced back in by low fuel at 3:30 a.m.
Crews headed back out at 6:45 a.m. Sunday to search the trails around both Horsetail and Oneonta Falls.