Conservation officers rescued 2 IU students from Hoosier National Forest

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana Conservation Officers rescued two Indiana University students after being lost for more than 12 hours while hiking at Hoosier National Forest.

The male and female student, both 19 years old, wanted to check out Patton Cave over the weekend, but somewhere along the way they went off the trail and got lost.

The students, realizing they weren’t going to make it out before dark, called 911 for help. They ended up spending the night in the woods.

“You know, it wasn’t freezing, but it did get down into the 50s, so they had a cool night. They didn’t get any sleep,” said Corporal Angela Goldman, an Indiana Conservation Officer.

Goldman spent hours searching for the hikers. She said the call for help came in around 9 p.m. Sunday.

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The hikers said they were not hurt, just lost. Officers immediately set up a perimeter to begin their search.

“We hiked until about 3 in the morning, walking up and down the trail, hollering out for them,” said Goldman. “The problem was, at about 11 that evening, his cell phone went dead.”

Officers didn’t have much luck searching. The hikers were told to stay put until the next morning.

“We had told them that it was very possible that we wouldn’t find them in the dark and that it would have to wait until morning, so they were okay with that, but they weren’t happy,” said Goldman.

But Goldman said the two hikers survived the night, getting by without much water, no cell phone or flashlight.

More than a dozen officers helped with the search efforts.

“We had officer searching on foot, hiking those trails, we had some of the Hoosier National Forest folks come in with a team of mules and were hiking with mules. We also had officers on boat,” said Goldman.

With the cool weather approaching, the Department of Natural Resources is urging hikers to stay on the marked trail, remember to bring a map, compass, or GPS and to bring a fully charged cell phone. Plus, don’t forget a flashlight.

“It’s not uncommon for us to find some lost folks out here. This is a big place, several thousand acres,” said Goldman.

Goldman said the hikers started at Blackwell Horse Camp and ended up on Grubb Ridge Loop Trail.

24-Hour News 8 contacted the hikers for an interview, but they did not get back to us.