A Montesano family missing since Tuesday has been found alive in Mason County.
Four members of the McAlister family were picked up by a hunter on a logging road about 30 minutes north of the Matlock General Store early Thursday, according to Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate of the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office.
Jason and Melissa McAlister, along with their 8-month-old and 2-year-old daughters, were checked by medical personnel and were found to be in good health.
The sheriff’s office reports that the family had driven into Mason County when they approached a dead tree that had fallen in the road. Their 2008 Chevrolet Uplander van became stuck as they tried to drive around the tree.
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The family stayed in the vehicle Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and told the sheriff’s office that they had listened to search and rescue efforts on the radio.
The family had been reported missing Tuesday after a neighbor received a call from the school where the couple’s two older children attend. The children, ages 5 and 7, had not been picked up from school.
Deputies searched remote logging roads Wednesday in an effort to find the McAlister family. According to Shumate, the hunter who found the family had heard about them through media coverage.
Jason McAlister told reporters the family tried to walk out to get help after the van got stuck Tuesday, but temperatures dipped into the 30s as darkness fell, according to the Associated Press. The family spent the night in a roadside shelter McAlister had built with fir boughs leaning against a rock to protect them from the wind.
“It actually kept us warm, considering I didn’t have a fire going,” he told reporters.
Lt. Travis Adams with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office recommended that anyone who drives on the county’s labyrinth of logging roads should carry a GPS device as well as emergency supplies, just in case.
“If you don’t know the area, you can get stuck and lost,” he said.