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Family Says Missing Man Ate Grasshoppers, Berries To Survive Montana/Idaho Wilderness

HAMILTON, Montana — A Utah man is back home after surviving five days in the Montana/Idaho wilderness. Family of Kaden Laga, 25, said he is in good spirits after walking into a search camp early Friday morning.

“He just walked into the camp and said ‘hello, hello, I need help’,” Debbie Laga, Kaden’s mother said.

The Utah resident had been separated from his family Sunday while on a horseback trip near the Twin Lakes area on the border of Montana and Idaho. The Montana Army National Guard, Idaho County Sheriff’s Office and the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office all participated in the search on foot and in helicopters. Laga said community members stepped in and set up camps on almost every trail near where her son went missing.

“No matter where Kaden came down from the mountain, he would have run into a tent,” she said. “We just prayed and prayed and prayed but we all felt the confidence that he was going to be okay.”

She said after two attempts to get him off the mountain via rescue helicopter, Kaden was reunited with family at around 5:00 p.m. Friday evening.

“When they opened the [helicopter] door he hopped out and came running across the tarmac and we ran across to get him,” she said “He was cracking jokes and wanting to know what was happening here and with his wife who’s expecting a baby and I jokingly said ‘you’re going to have to think of a pretty good name for this baby’ and he said ‘I already have, I’ve had a lot of time to think!”

Laga said her son looked skinny but was staying very positive about the whole experience.

“He said he ate a lot of grasshoppers and some ants and thimbleberries and huckleberries and a lot of water,” she said.

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