Nicholas Benim survived in the woods alone for four days. Benim’s family said he got turned around while hunting in Oregon's Clackamas County Sunday night and separated from his hunting group.
The hunter reunited with his family Wednesday afternoon at a ranger station in Estacada.
The family says Benim is exhausted, with cuts on his hands and bad blisters on his feet. Besides that, he’s doing OK.
“What a blessing, two hours ago they said they got him and we were so happy,” said father Daniel Benim.
“Things could have gone either way, because we had no idea where he was,” said brother Bobby Benim.
Daniel Benim said, “I’m a proud dad right now. He can barely talk right now, he’s tired, his feet are blistered.”
Nick Benim was all smiles after a very lucky run-in with an off-duty U.S. Forest Service employee.
“It was the first sign of human life he’d seen in ages, and all he was thinking was, ‘Oh my gosh, please stop and help me,’” said Bobby Benim.
“Yep, it was just a tired wave,” said Mike Burri, the Forest Service worker who found Benim. “This guy looks tired, beat up, real wet, cuts on his hands, didn’t look in real good shape.”
Burri said he was on his way to go hunting when he spotted Benim walking along Forest Service Road 4611, west of where Benim was separated from his group.
“He said, ‘Hey, I’ve been lost for four days, can you take me into town?’” said Burri.
Exhausted and hungry, Benim told Burri he got turned around while hunting Sunday night. He had to drink from the creek for days and make fires at night.
“He had a Snickers bar for a while, over the past two days so he was pretty hungry,” said Burri.
Burri said it’s remarkable how many miles Benim covered. Benim started near Hideaway Lake in Clackamas County. By the time he was found, after getting turned around multiple times, Burry thinks Benim covered up to 25 miles.
“There’s no trails, that’s all wilderness,” said Burri.
“Nick was prepared. He had a compass, he had a lighter, water bottle, little bit of food, he had a solar blanket. He was able to make fires at night,” said Bobby Benim.
Benim is now back home with his wife and five young kids. His family wants to thank everyone who helped look for him. The Forest Service says this is another reminder to always be prepared when you head outdoors.