Thousands of people heard the moment the Polk County Sheriff’s Office found Josh McClatchy through an online broadcast, reported WFAA. The office later confirmed that the missing hiker was found alive in the remote Caney Creek Wilderness area.
John Obeidin, McClatchy’s roommate, was listening to the broadcast while on his way to the area.
“I am listening in while charging my car trying to figure where I need to drive to next. He’s definitely heading to the hospital next, then home,” he said in a Facebook post. “They are getting Josh off the mountain right now. Every single person who participated in this rescue operation is incredible.”
Just hours earlier, McClatchy’s sister Miranda Balduf told supporters via Facebook that cell data had been obtained by the authorities showing them her brother’s likely location.
“Some cell data (and other things) have come in, been analyzed, and have identified a very high probable area where Josh is,” she wrote. “What this means is the search is changing from identifying where he is NOT, and to where he likely IS.”
“Be positive,” she wrote. “Never lose hope. They will find him.”
A picture from Obeidin showed McClatchy on a stretcher being loaded into a vehicle. His forehead was bandaged and he looked rugged but he was smiling.
Just before midnight, almost seven days after he went missing, Joshua McClatchy was found alive on the Buckeye Trail by rescue crews in Arkansas. Authorities used cell data to track the location of the Fort Worth hiker. #findjoshuamcclatchyhttps://t.co/NSd543cMid
— Marjorie Owens (@clumsyandshy) June 8, 2019
Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer told ABC that search-and-rescue crews used a National Guard helicopter and infrared technology to find the missing hiker. A team then spent about an hour to trek three miles to his location and another four hours to transport him out of the wilderness using a rescue cart.
McClatchy was happy to be found, he said. He was also dehydrated. Family members said he had protein bars and bottles of water with him when he went missing on June 1, in addition to a water filter that lets users drink from streams and other water sources.
McClatchy was taken to Mena Regional Health System, joined by his sister and parents.
“No matter what it takes.”
Joshua McClatchy’s friends aren’t giving up on finding him.
The Fort Worth hiker has been missing since Saturday. The search continues.
— Tiffany Liou (@tliou) June 7, 2019
Family Pledged to Find Him
McClatchy’s family and his roommate had pledged to find the hiker, frequently saying they thought he’d be found alive.
Obeidin told WFAA that he’d keep searching however long it took.
“I’ll go out there every weekend until he’s found,” he said.
Balduf, McClatchy’s sister, said that her brother had not gone on the trip without preparing extensively.
“My brother is very smart and was well prepared for this trip,” she told WFAA. “He loves hiking, camping, and the outdoors.”
“He was extremely excited about this trip. He spoke about the trip during all of our conversations for the last month,” Balduf added.