Meridian family stranded by mudslide returns home

September 30, 2013 

A Meridian family is home safe after a mudslide stranded them in Elmore County.

A Black Hawk helicopter lifted the four people out of the forest Tuesday morning.

Steven Rice, 34, Heather Rice, 33, and their two teenage children had headed out Sunday morning for a day trip to the Middle Fork area. The group had planned to return by 4 p.m. the same day, according to the Elmore County Sheriff's Office.

The search began after the Rice family did not return from their hunting trip when scheduled.

An Apache helicopter crew from the Idaho Army National Guard located the family Monday afternoon at the Graham Bridge Campground on Forest Service Road 312 (scroll down for map).

The family told their rescuers that a mudslide blocked them off, forcing them to spend the night in the forest.

The Rices were doing well, officials said, but could not be airlifted out because the Apache is a two-seater. They were provided a survival kit that included food, water, cold-weather gear and a shelter.

They were picked up and taken to Gowen Field to be reunited with family members Tuesday morning.


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