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Mark and Kristine Wathke rescued after getting lost near Yellowstone National Park, spending days in car

6:55 AM, Nov 6, 2013   |    comments
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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (KARE/WUSA9) -- A Wisconsin couple reported missing after a visit to Yellowstone National Park was found safe on the Beartooth Highway. The couple's car was stuck for six days in sub-zero temperatures.

Mark and Kristine Wathke survived on peanut-butter, jelly and hope. The couple wasn't sure they'd ever be found.

Back home in Cornell, Wis., their family wondered the very same thing, but on Tuesday night, all the worrying and praying, would pay off.

"Just so nerve-wracking waiting for them," said Linda Webb, as she paced around baggage claim at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport.

Linda was waiting for her daughter Kristine and her husband Mark's flight to arrive. Mark's whole side of the family made the trip to the airport, too.

"To get that call Monday morning and hear the voice on the other end, you hear the phrase, 'Words can't express,' but now I really understand that," said Mark's brother Greg.

The Wathkes have been through a lot in the last six days, from being lost and not knowing if you'd ever be found, to coming home and seeing just how much you are loved and by how many.

"It's very exciting, very exciting yes," said Kristine.

The couple declined to talk about their harrowing experience, saying they were unable to because of rules set by an agreement they had with a major network.

Park County, Wyo., sheriff's spokesman Lance Mathess says the owner of a guest ranch heard about the missing couple and went looking for them on his snowmobile. He found them at about 8:30 a.m. Monday and took them back to the guest ranch.

Mathess says the Wathkes were cold and hungry, but otherwise okay.

The Wathkes were last seen leaving the northeast entrance of Yellowstone at 4 p.m. Tuesday. They had hotel reservations in Miles City that night, but never arrived.

Mathess says the couple either didn't see or ignored signs that said the Beartooth Highway was closed due to the weather.

Deputies say the couple had enough fuel in the car to keep it running and warm, and also had food and water in the car. They did not have cell phone service in the remote area.

Before being rescued by the ranch owner the couple was last seen leaving the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 29th.

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