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OR: Hunter Rescued After 4 Nights In Forest

Prineville Hunter Rescued After 4 Nights In Forest Rescuer Believes It Was Fate

December 1, 2010

BEND, Ore. -- A Prineville man survived four days and three nights, hurt and stranded in the Ochoco National Forest.

On Thanksgiving, 48-year-old Alan Hewitt was elk hunting in the forest. He left the camp on horseback, but he and his horse were injured after the snow caused a big fall.

Enduring days of freezing temperatures, missing Thanksgiving and living off of a small bag of beef jerky, he was trying to find the main road on foot. He did not make it.

Days later, Darrell Hover of Bend and his father saw what looked like a red backpack, piled under the snow.

"He was shivering, disoriented, almost catatonic and in need of help," Hover said Wednesday.

Crook County sheriff's deputies say if Hover did not find Hewitt, there is a good chance he would not have made it through another night.

Hover said he was meant to find Hewitt.

"It just worked out, where we made all these lefts and these rights and the one at the timing was perfect," Hover said. "Alan was off to the side of the road, we saw the little object that looked like a backpack and it turns out it was a human being that really needed help. "

Sheriff's deputies believe Hewitt's experience as a Marine helped save his life in the wilderness. The department put together a team, rescued the two horses and returned them to their home in Prineville.

Hover and his father said they took Hewitt to the hospital in Prineville, then he was transported to Bend. Hewitt is currently listed in serious condition.

Hover said Hewitt promised to take him out for a drink to repay him for his kindness. .

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