The Arkansas State students, who went missing after going on a hike, have been found alive and well. On Thursday, three students from the Arkansas State University, an American, 25-year-old Casey Sherwood, and two Japanese exchange students – Daiki Itoh, 19, and 18-year-old Daisuke Takagi – set out for a spelunking trip.
The trio was eager to explore Blowing Cave hidden away in Cushman, Arkansas and at some point during their little hike; they got lost. Almost 24 hours after she noticed that Sherwood did not come back home, his wife reported him and his friends missing.
The Independence County Sheriff’s Department and Independence County Office of Emergency Management rushed to the cave to search for the trio.
As authorities were searching for the students, Mr. Sherwood’s father spoke to local media saying that two of his sons had previously gotten lost inside a cave years ago, but they found their way home, so he was optimistic.
After hours of searching, the three pals were found near Cushman, 110 miles north of Little Rock, covered in heavy mud. The students, who were injured, said that they lost their way about 30 minutes from the entrance to Blowing Cave.
A photo posted on the university’s Facebook page showed two of the students covered in mud smiling and being treated by first responders after the rescue. Sherwood said:
“I felt a little bit of panic when I realized we were lost but decided to stay in place. The three us would regularly shout for help or whistle so rescuers could find us, and stayed close together to keep warm.”
“What we would do is we would sit back to back to back in a little triangle keeping ourselves warm and huddling ourselves up inside of our shirts and breathing hot air into us.So that kept us going the whole time.”
Acting Arkansas State University Chancellor Lynita Cooksey said in a statement:
“On behalf of all the faculty, students and staff of Arkansas State, I want to thank the rescue teams of Independence County and all the volunteers who came forward to assist. We are so grateful for their hard work in locating Daiki, Daisuke, and Casey.”
Shane Broadway, vice president of university relations for the University system, added:
“They appeared to be fine. I think more tired than anything.”
The community has welcomed the good news.