A post-Christmas elk hunt turned into terror for a New Mexico family.
In the midst of freezing temperatures, a man and his three kids disappeared as heavy snow started coming down near Cloudcroft, prompting a large search and rescue effort.
The day after Christmas, Cutter Rogers’ family tell News 13 he set out with his three kids 11-year-old Chance, 12-year-old Kinzie and 14-year-old Chuck.
They were expected to return later that day but never showed up.
“Family members reported them missing when they didn’t show up to the hotel at a designated time,” said Ofc. Dusty Francisco with State Police.
The snow and temperatures fell dramatically.
“A majority of the roads are shut down, you can’t get in and you get out because of all the snow,” said Dixie Burkham.
Family members, like Burkham, say they felt helpless as crews searched for the four and the truck they were in.
“Will they be ok? Are they going to be safe? Are we going to celebrate them coming home or are we going to celebrate their life and put them to rest?” said Burkham.
Thankfully, State Police say local sheriff’s deputies on snowmobiles found the family just before noon today on Sunspot Road — alive.
“I don’t really think words could express from any of us thankful we are that everyone put in the effort for searching,” said Burkham.
“Due to the inclement extreme weather they’re experiencing right now, search and rescue hasn’t been able to reach them, but they were found safe and ok inside the vehicle,” said Francisco.
Before the relieving news, the family raised more $25,000 to launch a helicopter that, fortunately, is no longer needed.
“We’re definitely counting our blessings, ‘cause anything could’ve happened, especially in those kind of temperatures,” said Burkham.
As of 2:30 p.m., State Police say the Rogers family was still up in the mountain. As soon as they are down, they will be evaluated by EMS.
As for the money that the family raised in just a matter of hours, it will be refunded back to the generous donors.