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Snowmobiler Rescued in New Mexico

January 7, 1998

CHAMA, N.M. (AP) _ A snowmobiler who got stuck in high snowdrifts did pushups and built a snow cave to survive two nights of frigid temperatures and punishing winds in the mountains of northern New Mexico.

Jose Sanchez, 24, was found in good condition Tuesday after a search plane spotted him in an area near the Colorado line where drifts were up to 5 feet high.

``He was standing and waving at the plane,″ said Alana Rushton, head of New Mexico’s search and rescue organization. ``There were a couple of snowmobile crews nearby and they located him.″

Sanchez, a mechanic who is married with a small daughter, said he did pushups to keep himself warm after his snowmobile got stuck Sunday.

``He said he did more than he’d ever done in his life,″ Rushton said.

Sanchez spent Sunday and Monday nights inside snow caves he built about two miles from where he became stuck.

``He was able to get out of the wind,″ Rushton said. ``Last night (Monday) was the worst. There were 40 mile-an-hour winds and visibility was about 40 feet.″

The temperature Monday night plunged to 2 degrees, but the wind made it appear much colder.

Sanchez came through the ordeal in relatively good condition, suffering only mild hypothermia.

At his mother’s home in Los Ojos on Tuesday, Sanchez ate a dinner of beans and tortillas and went to bed.

``I still haven’t heard his story, but he looks pretty good,″ Tessie Sanchez said.

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