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Police detail how 8-year-old who went missing while camping kept himself alive

Nante Niemi “braved the elements” and is in good health after being reunited with his family, police said.
/ Source: TODAY

Michigan State Police released more details on how an 8-year-old boy who vanished in a remote Michigan park on May 6 was able to keep himself alive for two days before rescuers located the second grader.

Nante Niemi was found under a log around 1:30 p.m. on May 8 about two miles away from his family's campsite at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park near Wakefield, Michigan, according to Michigan State Police.

Nante told Lt. Jason Wickstrom of the Michigan State Police how he was able to survive on his own in the park, police said in a tweet.

"The boy told them he covered up with branches and leaves for warmth and also blanketed the log he was under," police said. "He didn’t have any food but ate clean snow for hydration."

"He walked a trail Sunday and when he ran out of trail, he figured the best thing to do was to just stop and wait," police continued. "They offered to carry him out today, but he told the guys who found him that he wanted to walk!"

Police added Nante "braved the elements" and is in good health after being reunited with his family.

The 8-year-old went missing around 1 p.m. on May 6 while gathering firewood as he camped with his family, according to police. More than 150 search and rescue personnel searched a 40-square mile area of the 60,000 acre park.

The group, which included nine K9s, searched for Nante by land, air and water, describing the search area's terrain as "very remote and hilly with a lot of standing water."

Hurley School District, where Nante attends school, said before he was found it had two buses full of volunteers ready to help search for the boy, if needed.

"From our Hurley School Community to the hundreds of volunteers and organizations that helped bring Nante back safely, we can’t even adequately express our sincere gratitude," the school district said in a Facebook post. "Although our emotions are very raw at this time, we want to acknowledge the extreme outpouring of love and support we received over these past few days!"

The school district posted photos showing Nante posing with rescuers after he was found safe.

The school district added: "May all those who took part in the search and rescue efforts know that your work will have a positive impact on many lives forever!"