Missing Wis. couple rescued from snow near Yellowstone

10:03 PM, Nov 4, 2013   |    comments
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CODY, Wyoming - A Wisconsin couple reported missing after a visit to Yellowstone National Park was found safe on the Beartooth Highway, where their car had been stuck for nearly a week.

Mark and Kristine Wathke of Cornell, Wis. apparently drove down a road that they didn't realize was closed because of wintry weather, and got their car stuck in the snow.

Park County, Wyo., sheriff's spokesman Lance Mathess says the owner of a guest ranch heard about the missing couple and went looking for them on his snowmobile. He found them at about 8:30 a.m. Monday and took them back to the guest ranch.

Mathess says the Wathke's of Cornell, Wis., were cold and hungry, but otherwise OK.

They were last seen leaving the northeast entrance of Yellowstone at 4 p.m. Tuesday. They had hotel reservations in Miles City that night, but never arrived.

Mathess says the couple either didn't see or ignored signs that said the Beartooth Highway was closed due to the weather.

Deputies say the couple had enough fuel in the car to keep it running and warm, and also had food and water in the car. They did not have cell phone service in the remote area. 

Before being rescued by the ranch owner the couple was last seen leaving the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 29th.

Search and Rescue personnel began performing a wide-ranging highway search within Park County after receiving a call from the couple's concerned family members. Search and Rescue were also assisted by a Search and Rescue aircraft.

The Wathke family last heard from Mark and Kristine on the 29th, from within Yellowstone, letting them know they would be home on October 30th. Since then there has been no further cell phone activity from the couple.

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