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Missing Girls OK After Night in Wilderness

Associated Press

Two girls who vanished on a fishing trip near a remote Sierra Nevada lake were found safe about four miles away late Tuesday, authorities said.

A Boy Scout troop from Berkeley found them near Utica Union Reservoir, Alpine County sheriff’s officials said.

Mallory Smith, 12, of Vallejo and her friend, Rebecca Liberty, 8, of Stockton appeared to be in good shape, said sheriff’s dispatcher Jema Kimell.

Mallory told reporters she and her friend spent the night sitting on a rock, sharing a sweatshirt. She said she knew they would be found because they heard helicopters overhead all day.

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A Scout going to a stream to take a bath Tuesday saw the girls on the rock. They had taken the Scouts’ food bag from a tree where it had been hoisted to keep bears away, Mallory told reporters. The girls ate crackers and chips from the bag and suffered only mosquito bites.

The girls were last seen Monday as they headed back from Lake Alpine to get something from Mallory’s father’s car. Mallory said they had been playing a game and got lost.

The car was about 600 feet from the spot where the girls had been fishing with Rebecca’s father, Tom Liberty, sheriff’s officials said.

Mallory was wearing a bathing suit when she was last seen in the rugged area where the overnight temperatures dipped into the 40s.

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Relatives said that Rebecca was not familiar with the dense woods around Lake Alpine.

Authorities began searching for the girls shortly after Rebecca’s father reported the girls missing about 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Helicopters and ground crews aided by search dogs began canvassing the area at sunrise Tuesday.


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