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One Man Reportedly Escaped Ecuadoran Jungle

October 12, 1986

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ One of three men reported lost nearly two weeks ago while on a treasure hunt in Ecuador emerged from the jungle Saturday and began assembling a rescue party for the other two, a family friend said.

Bill T. Johnson, 32, of Rockford, Mich., walked into a village about four hours driving time from Quito, Ecuador, and told villagers to get him to a telephone, said Mary Milanowski, a family friend in Grand Rapids.

She said he called his mother in Rockford. It was not clear if Johnson knew the location of the others, David L. Groover, 37, of White Cloud, Mich., and an Ecuadoran porter identified as Cristobal Guevara, Milanowski said.

″He (Johnson) is aware enough that he is trying to put together a group of people to go in and get David and the porter,″ Milanowski said. She said the three went into a jungle mountain area in search of Inca treasure.

In Ecuador, the newspaper Hoy of Quito reported that the three became lost in the Los Llagantes mountain range on the edge of the jungle about 120 miles east of Quito when they tired of hiking and broke away from the group of five other Ecuadorians.

The paper said officials learned the three were missing with the five others arrived in Quito on Sunday. The country’s army and a helicopter provided by the U.S. Embassy had been conducting an air and ground search, Hoy said.

The search began Wednesday, U.S. Embassy spokesman Pamela Corey said earlier from Quito. Telephone calls seeking comment from embassy officials Saturday went unanswered.

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