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Missing father and son located by snowmobiler

By McKenzie Romero and Andrew Wittenberg, | Posted - Feb 21st, 2013 @ 11:59pm


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BOUNTIFUL — A father and son who were stranded snowmobiling were found by another snowmobiler and brought down the mountain Thursday.

According to the Davis County Sheriff's Office, search and rescue were looking for Robert Sutton, 41, and his son Cole Sutton, 15, who got stuck in Ward Canyon, near Grandview Peak outside of Bountiful. They became stranded when their snowmobiles wouldn't start Wednesday night.

They spent the night on the mountain before emergency crews were contacted and dispatched Thursday morning.

Thursday afternoon, officials said the Suttons' cell phone batteries were dead and they could not get a GPS coordinate for them. The two did not have avalanche beacons, either.

After seeing the difficulty searchers were having, snowmobiler Kevin Sundh decided to take his 16-year-old son, Nate, and go looking for the Suttons themselves.

"When I heard it was a father and son, it was something that I just felt like I needed to go up; because if that ever happened to my son and I, I sure hope someone would come looking for us." Sundh said.

Sundh said he and his son frequent the trails above Bountiful with their snowmobiles. With their experience, what had been a fruitless, hours-long search by authorities ended in less than a half-hour when Sundh spotted tracks.

After finding the Suttons, Sundh notified search and rescue crews, who brought the two to safety shortly after.

"I can't put that to words. We haven't heard from them since yesterday, we didn't learn they were gone until this morning, so today's been pretty hectic," Ken Selleneit, the boy's grandfather said. "We just prayed to the Lord that it was going to be OK somehow."

The sheriff's office said the two were healthy and uninjured, just cold.

"I survived, so I'm doing good," Cole said with a smile. "It was a great experience. … I thought it was a lot of fun."

Tears, hugs and excited phone calls were shared as family and friends waiting below on Skyline Drive got word that the Suttons had been located and were on their way back.

Despite encouragement from searchers throughout the day, Cole's grandmother, Barbara Selleneit, said relief didn't come until she heard the pair had been found.

"Every hour that went by and they couldn't find them was one hour closer to dark," Selleneit said. "We're thrilled."

Cole lives in San Diego with his mother, who was about to board a plane and head to Utah when she got the news her son was safe.

Contributing: Peter Samore



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McKenzie Romero
Andrew Wittenberg

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