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6 snowmobilers rescued in Colorado after 3 days trapped in mountains
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CONEJOS, Colo. - Six snowmobilers missing for three days in the snowy southern Colorado mountains were brought to safety Monday after calling 911 from a remote outpost where they sought refuge.

The group got lost and ran out of gas on Friday night near 10,222-foot Cumbres Pass just north of the Colorado-New Mexico border, and took shelter in a cabin. When reached by crews on snowmobiles, they were cold and hungry but otherwise unhurt.

"We just stayed in the cabin because it was safe," Jason Groen said when crews brought him and the others out at about 11 a.m.

The cabin is near the isolated Osier Station, a small wooden building that serves as summertime stop on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a tourist line. Groen said his cell phone didn't work in the cabin, and bad weather kept him from leaving to find a place where he could get a signal until Monday morning.

Groen, 36, was snowmobiling with his wife, Shannon, 31; their daughter Aspen, 14; one of Groen's employees, Mike Martin; and Martin's wife Missy and their son, Jessie, 13. All are from New Mexico.

The search for the group had been hindered by heavy snow and bad roads. As much as 4 feet of snow fell in the area since Friday, the National Weather Service said.

Deputy Adam Chacon said the snow fell as fast as 8 inches per hour at times, making it tough for snowmobile-mounted searchers.

"We were barely missing creeks, we were running into snow drifts," he said. Chacon said searchers risked sinking into deep snow if they slowed their machines.

Jason Groen's mother said she had feared the worst.

"I never had a prayer that they would all get off the mountain alive," said Beverly Downey of Aztec, N.M.

Also Monday, crews were searching for two skiers who were still missing. Searchers in a helicopter and on snowmobiles took advantage of a break in the weather to resume the search at Wolf Creek Pass, about 40 miles northwest of Cumbres Pass. But conditions could worsen; the southern Colorado mountains were under an avalanche warning.

The men, missing since Saturday, were in their mid-20s and their car had New Mexico license plates, but their names had not been released.


Associated Press Writers George Merritt in Denver and Heather Clark in Albuquerque, N.M., contributed to this report.

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