'God blessed us today': Missing Molalla hunter found safe

Hiker found safe after 4 days in the forest

ESTACADA, Ore. -- A Molalla hunter who went missing by Hideaway Lake near Estacada on Sunday afternoon has been found safe.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office made the announcement shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. They said 34-year-old Nick Benim was found about 8 miles northwest of where he went missing, by a U.S. Forest Service employee.

"I was scouting, driving down the road and he was on it, waving at me," said Mike Burri. "I talked to him and he said he had been lost for four days and wanted a ride."

Benim used a compass for directions, drank water out of a stream for two days and built fires during the first two nights to stay warm.

Relieved family members were waiting at the ranger station to reunite with him.

"I gave him a big hug," said Nick's father, Daniel, "and then a few seconds later, I gave him another."

"I was worried, but I figured all along he was going to pop out on the street at some point and just be a grump that he was out there that long and nobody had found him yet," Nick's brother, Bobby, said with a laugh.

A crew of 60 search and rescue members from seven different counties were searching Wednesday for Benim, who had last been seen Sunday at about 5 p.m. when he left a hunting group. The crews were also using two K-9 units and a helicopter.

"To the search and rescue people, I don't know how to say thank you," said Daniel Benim. "God blessed us today. We're so very happy."

Search and rescue was making a push to find Benim Wednesday because the forecast for Estacada called for a chance of showers on Wednesday night with temperatures dipping to the mid-40s.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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