news services
updated 6/25/2008 9:39:04 PM ET 2008-06-26T01:39:04

Nine teenagers and two adults who were reported missing in a rugged area of the Sierra Nevada mountain range hiked to safety Wednesday, hours after rescue teams launched a search.

The teens, ages 13 to 16, and their two 30-year-old guides turned up at a remote camp store several miles outside the search area, said Brad Mushovic, executive director of wilderness programs at Outward Bound, the nonprofit group that organized the expedition.

The hikers had last been seen on Sunday.

"We're happy to see such a positive outcome," Mushovic said. He reported no injuries.

The hikers were nearing the end of a two-week backpacking and rock-climbing trip in the Sierra National Forest about 10 miles west of Kings Canyon National Park. They had supplies to last them through Friday, according to the Fresno County sheriff's office.

They were reported missing to authorities on Tuesday, two days after the group missed a rendezvous with a third guide. That guide had separated from the group Sunday to scout a possible climb. When he returned to the prearranged meeting point, the group wasn't there, Mushovic said.

The guide, who was in possession of the group's only satellite phone, called Outward Bound officials for help, Mushovic said.

Fresno officials and parents of the children were called Tuesday when the group still hadn't been found, he said.

One of the adult instructors called Outward Bound after the group emerged at the Florence Lake Store near the midpoint of the John Muir portion of the Pacific Crest Trial, about three hours east of Fresno.

The teens were part of Outward Bound's Sierra Rock Climbing Expedition, a $1,795 back country trek to the Courtright Reservoir on the Sierra western slope and into steep terrain.

The teens were from all over the country, including Hawaii, Connecticut, Montana, Massachusetts and California, sheriff's officials said.

This report includes information from The Associated Press and NBC News.


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