Stranded snowmobilers rescued after spending cold nights in snow cave

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GREENWATER, Wash. - Rescuers brought out two snowmobilers who became stranded in whiteout conditions over the weekend.

 

The two were tired and cold, but otherwise OK, when they emerged on Tuesday.

 

The man and woman were found late Monday night in a remote area near Greenwater and Crystal Mountain, but had to spend two nights in below-freezing weather.

 

Searchers said the two missing snowmobilers were at roughly 5,000 feet between Blowout Mountain and Twin Camps.

 

 Glen Markovits, 44, and his female companion, Renee Bennett, had gone out for a snowmobile daytrip on Sunday.

 

On the way back to their truck, a blizzard hit, and conditions got so bad they decided to shelter in place. They were well- equipped and had supplies.  

 

Markovits contacted his daughter by cellphone several times to reassure her and texted her his GPS coordinates.

 

They stayed all night in a snow cave, and Monday morning, the man texted his daughter again, asking her to call 911.

 

"It was an igloo with a lot of branches that we laid on.  We created a bed in there, we had fire going, it was hard to maintain," said Markovits.

 

The snowmobilers told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Rick Price the weather conditions were severe, with 60-80 mph winds, heavy snow and zero visibility.

 

Markovitz said he had to ride about a mile to get a cell signal.  Sometimes the weather was so bad he was unable to hold the cellphone.

 

Markovitz said he had been riding snowmobiles for decades, but he was concerned for Bennett's safety, so he made the decision to hunker down and wait for rescuers.  

 

"It was a long night and a half, or however long we were up there. I lost track of time," said Glenn Markovits.

 

Weather was a big problem for the rescuers as well.  The big storm that hit Monday dumped a lot of snow and freezing rain in the search area.

 

Bennett and Markovits said they were extremely grateful to the rescuers.

 

When asked what he would do next, Markovits said he planned on taking  a shower and perhaps he'd go to work.