Rescuers Reach Two Missing Hikers in Alaskan Park

Officials located two young women who disappeared while hiking in Alaska's Denali National Park and were reunited with family members Wednesday.

A helicopter picked them up just outside the park about an hour after one of the hikers made a second cell phone call to her mother, park spokeswoman Kris Fister said.

Abby Flantz, 25, of Gaylord, Minn., and 23-year-old Erica Nelson of Las Vegas greeted their family members at the park's headquarters, park spokeswoman Kris Fister said.

The pair hadn't been seen since last week. They disappeared during what was supposed to be a short backpacking trip through the preserve.

Anchorage television station KTUU showed the pair laughing with family members and eating large, overstuffed deli sandwiches as they walked to a waiting ambulance. They didn't immediately speak to reporters.

Nelson was due to fly to Houston Sunday night and be the maid of honor in her sister's wedding.

The women were last seen Thursday at the Savage River check station about 15 miles from Denali headquarters. They had planned to return Friday.

Flantz and Nelson were reported overdue on Saturday when they did not show up for work at a hotel outside the park.

Nelson's mother, Ellane Nelson, received an initial cell phone call at 9:15 a.m. as she listened to park officials give a briefing on the search for her missing daughter.

The cell phone's battery was weak but park officials were able to locate the signal coming from the eastern section of the 100-square mile they had been searching for more than four days.

The agency dispatched two helicopters to pick the women up, but hours later the two women had not been found.

Fister said they initially thought the women were in the vicinity of a dry creek bed. But after the second phone call rescuers focused instead on a brushy area on the eastern edge of the search area north of Mount Healy, about five miles west of a highway connecting Fairbanks and Anchorage.

Ground and air crews searched nearly 100 square miles of the nearly 9,400-square-mile preserve and had just launched another wide-scale search on Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.