Manila • A 12-year-old Boy Scout was found alive and well Saturday morning just hours after a massive search effort for him had resumed in northeastern Utah's Ashley National Forest.
Jared Ropelato, of Hooper, was reported missing at noon Friday by his scoutmasters in the area of the Spirit Lake Trailhead and Daggett Lake, about three miles west of Manila.
Daggett County Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen said the boy was fishing in a stream when he decided to return to camp alone Friday afternoon. Jorgensen said the Boy Scouts usually use a buddy-system to make sure no one gets lost, but Jared said he couldn't locate his assigned partner or find the nearby camp.
"He just got separated and started wandering down," Jorgensen said. He estimated the boy walked eight to 10 miles at about 10,000-foot elevation before he was rescued.
Daggett County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Karen Peterson said the boy was spotted by searchers on ATVs in the Long's Park Canal area, about four to five miles from where Ropelato was last seen. Jorgensen said Ropelato was still carrying part of his red fishing rod.
"He had done some hiking but was in good condition. He told us that when night fell Friday, he made himself a lean-to and settled in for the night. One of our (sheriff's) EMTs checked him out, and he's fine," Peterson said.
"He's now with family at the Spirit Lake Trailhead command post. As you can imagine, there were a lot of tears when he was brought in," she added.
Jorgensen described the reunion between Jared and his mother as "pretty emotional."
"He and his mother embraced for quite a while," he said.
He said Ropelato's father arrived Friday afternoon and spent the night in his truck at the command post after the search was called off Friday because of darkeness. He said the boy's mother arrived at 3 a.m.
The boy's rescue initially was reported by the Garrett Bardsley Foundation in a statement released about 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Bardsley, also a 12-year-old Boy Scout, disappeared in 2004 in the Uinta Mountains and was never found. His father started the foundation that bears his name.
Jorgensen said Ropelato was lucky he didn't get lost in the mountains at any other time of the year. He said Saturday morning's temperature on the mountain was 31 degrees, and when Ropelato was found, he was "wet and cold."
"Any other time of the year and he would have been in danger of dying," Jorgensen said.
Earlier Saturday, Peterson said teams of search dogs and volunteers on horseback and on foot about 200 people in all had resumed searching at 7 a.m., aided by a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter. Peterson said rescuers found Ropelato about 8:40 a.m.
Ropelato was noticed missing by Scout leaders about noon Friday. One of them sent a text message to his wife, who then contacted the Sheriff's Office. By 1:30 p.m., searchers were combing the area for the boy.
Volunteers sought for another search
The Duchesne County Sheriff's Office is asking for volunteers to help in the search Sunday for an Australian hiker reported missing a week ago in the Uinta Mountains.
Searchers have been scouring the High Line Trail for Eric Robinson, 63 .
Volunteers are asked to contact the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office at 435-738-2015 or 435-789-4222.