Agencies provide additional rescue details, camping trip safety advice after Nante Niemi search

Details include why civilian volunteers were asked not to participate in the search and more.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 8:34 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ONTONAGON, Mich. (WLUC) - After two days alone in the wilderness of the Porcupine Mountains State Park, Nante Niemi was found and rescued amidst a massive search operation.

The state park staff were some of the first informed, hearing about the situation at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. They immediately went down a call list of off-duty rangers and partnering emergency agencies in the area.

“Law, fire, EMS, getting people rolling to the scene as quick as possible,” said Porcupine Mountains State Park Manager Michael Knack. “Minutes are so valuable, so getting there as quick as possible, especially before dark, makes things a lot easier.”

According to Knack, the area is some of the roughest terrain in the Midwest. Its rivers were extremely high due to recent snowfall, with feet of snow still being present in some areas. The Michigan State Police (MSP) says this is part of the reason it asked that no civilian volunteers be involved in the search.

“We actually had a couple of our search and rescue volunteers that had come in that ended up getting fatigued and had to be taken out of the search area,” said MSP Calumet Post First Lieutenant Jason Wickstrom. “We just didn’t want people going into the search area that might end up creating another emergency.”

Another reason for asking civilians to stay away from the area, according to Wickstrom, was in order to keep track of all search parties and combat the potential issue that volunteers could get lost.

In a situation like Nante’s, Knack says that if you think someone is lost, you should immediately notify authorities and not wait. If you are the one who is lost, it’s important to stay where you are.

“It’s best not to wander around,” continued Knack. “If you can stay put, that’s the best thing you can do. It’s a lot easier for aircraft, boots on the ground, or a dog to find you.”

MSP also encourages building a fire, if possible, as to be seen from the air, as well as carrying a whistle.

“Nante was saying that he was yelling for his mom and dad, and then started talking about yelling for his dog because he thought his dog would hear better than his mom and dad,” added Wickstrom. “A lot of people, as part of their survival kits, carry a whistle because that noise is going to travel much farther.”

Both groups would like to thank everyone involved in the search for their hard work.