ARIEL, Wash. — A 40-year-old Ohio man was found alive after he was missing for six nights near Mount St. Helens.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday announced that searchers found Matthew Matheny on the flanks of the mountain. He was taken by helicopter to a Vancouver hospital, where he was listed in in satisfactory condition and was released on Thursday.
"I don’t know that he’s able to walk but I know he’s talking, so that’s a huge piece for us that he’s able to talk and appears to be - other than being dehydrated and such from being out in the elements for as many days as he was - that he appears to be in remarkably good shape,” said Sheriff Mark Nelson.
Matheny's parents told KGW he had no water and ate bees and berries to survive. They also credited their son's interest in nutrition and exercise with helping him stay alive.
“Matt’s a big boy…quite fit…is interested in nutrition and health. And we think that may have saved him,” his mother Linda Mathany said.
Sheriff Nelson said hard work by more than 100 search volunteers helped find Matheny, who was spotted by the Skamania County Volcano Rescue Team.
"I think God’s good. It's an amazing, amazing story and we don’t know what his part of the story is but we’ve had over 100-plus searchers starting Saturday, all volunteers from all over Oregon and in-state and out-of-state, and just an incredible effort has gone in to locating this man,” said Nelson.
Matheny disappeared Thursday after he was last seen on the Blue Lake trail.
On Monday, people who drove to the search base camp from Vancouver said they saw a man wearing gray clothes in the area consistent with the cellphone data. Search leaders used "virtual" search software to give searchers places to look using probabilities.
On Tuesday, searchers were hopeful that the new tip and cellphone records would lead them to Matheny. The information suggested was in a general area several miles up the trail on Thursday afternoon.
"We were not ready to give up yet. There were still areas that we wanted to search," Nelson said.
The sheriff's office shared two recent photos of Matheny and the car he was driving, a gray Subaru Outback. The vehicle was found by a Skamania County deputy on Saturday at the Blue Lake trailhead.