Three sisters who vanished over the weekend on a hiking trip in northwest Wyoming have been found alive.
The sisters - 25-year-old Megan Andrews-Sharer, 22-year-old Erin Andrews-Sharer and 16-year-old Kelsi Andrews-Sharer - were reported missing after they failed to check in with their family on Sunday following a three-day hike in the Wyoming wilderness. Erin and Kelsi are from Lewis Center.
On Wednesday, a guide in the Bridger-Teton National Forest discovered a person in an area without trails. The guide phoned the Teton County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday and a search team was immediately dispatched to the area. With a description of the area provided by the guide, rescuers were able to locate the women within 20 minutes.
According to a family blog, the girls were rescued via helicopter and flown to the Swift Creek trailhead and reunited with their father.
Buckrail reporter Jill Thompson says the sisters appeared tired, sunburnt and dehydrated when they exited the rescue helicopter, but were generally in good spirits. They were able to walk out under their own power.
The Teton County Sheriff’s Office tells 10TV the sisters were found uninjured, but “cold, wet and hungry.”
Their location was approximately seven miles west of the trailhead where their car was found on Wednesday.
Nearly 100 people took part in Thursday's rescue efforts, alongside search dogs, a helicopter and horses.
The Teton County Sheriff's Office says the sisters' "experience and planning allowed them to be prepared for their unexpected situation. By staying together, using their tent, and having proper clothing, they were able to wait out the event without further incident."
"We’re so pleased with the outcome of this search and the safety of the missing hikers and all the rescue personnel,” said Sheriff Jim Whalen, Incident Commander for the Search and Rescue event.
16-year-old Kelsi is a junior at Olentangy High School. The District released the following statement on her rescue:
"The Olentangy Local School District joins the Andrews-Sharer family and the community in celebrating the news that Kelsi and her sisters have been found and are safe. We learned of this good news early Thursday afternoon and are relieved to know that Kelsi will be rejoining her family, friends and teammates soon."
SLIDESHOW: The search for missing sisters
On Wednesday night, the congregation at Grace Point church prayed that Kelsi, Erin and Megan would be found safe. By early Thursday afternoon, they say, their prayer was simply, “thank you!”
Pastor Ryan Smith, who led the prayer service, said he was heading back to the church after lunch when he learned the news.
"My administrative assistant texted me with the words, simply, ‘FOUND!!’ … and I knew that had to refer to the girls,” Pastor Smith recalled. “I did a little scream in the car and made sure I kept both hands on the wheel."
Smith says the way the church community and the Olentangy community have come together show how much the young women are loved. He said the sisters’ love and message of faith will be a wonderful gift for the community.
"We'd love to be able to celebrate with them. We think it would be amazing if they would take a night and actually share their story with everybody."
VIDEO: Sisters Return Via Helicopter (Courtesy: Buckrail.com)