In what some likened to a "miracle," a Medford teen who was missing for two nights on a Maine mountain was found Tuesday morning after building his own snow shelter to survive.
Nicholas Joy built a snow cave to shield himself from the elements on Sugarloaf Mountain after he apparently became lost while skiing with family last weekend. Maine officials praised his presence of mind to create his own shelter.
"He ... had the wits enough to make a snow cave and stayed there for the night," Maine Warden Service Lt. Kevin Adam told reporters during a news conference. "Obviously he made some errors getting off of the trail, but he used his head and made some very good decisions in building a snow cave and even staying with the snow cave was a good decision."
The 17-year-old had been skiing with his father at Sugarloaf Mountain all day Sunday and was last seen by his dad as the teen rode a chairlift just after noon Sunday, the Maine Warden Service said.
Joy somehow got out of bounds on the ski area, came down on the west side of the mountain and realized he wasn't going to be able to get back, Adam said.
He was found about 9 a.m. by Joel Paul, a snowmobile rider from Massachusetts. The snowmobile rider was not part of the search party that had been looking for Joy since Sunday.
Joy was found on a snowmobile trail and was being taken to a hospital for evaluation.
"He was located alive and well on Caribou Pond Road on the west side of the mountain," the Maine Warden Service said in a statement.
John Diller, the general manager of Sugarloaf, said he became emotional when he received word that Joy was found and was OK.
"I did happen to show up about a minute after the parents got the news ... I cried with them," he said during a news conference. "This kind of thing is almost like a miracle."
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.