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Missing hunters found safe after night in woods

| October 25, 2006 12:00 AM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

A 13-year-old Libby boy and his grandfather arrived home safely Monday after spending the night lost on Berray Mountain off Highway 56 south of Troy.

Tyler Gustin and his grandfather, Dick Gustin, 59, of Troy got through the 25-degree night by building a fire, said family friend, Lana Managhan of Troy. They were dressed in warm hunting clothes, had matches, but had no food, said Managhan, whose husband, Gary, was hunting with the Gustins before they got lost.

Pennie Gustin, who is Tyler's mother, on Tuesday morning said her son "was doing great" and on his way to school. Tyler is a sixth-grader at Libby Middle School.

Sanders County Sheriff's Department oversaw the search, but could not be reached for details.

Lana Managhan gave the following account:

Tyler Gustin and his twin brother, Bryce; their grandfather, Dick Gustin; Gary Managhan and family friend Lloyd Sidmore of Troy headed for the Berray Mountain area on Sunday morning. Managhan, and Dick and Tyler Gustin took the lower trail head for the Berray Mountain lookout trail, while Sidmore and Bryce Gustin took the upper trail head.

Managhan then split up from the Gustins.

When Tyler and Dick Gustin failed to meet Managhan, Managhan fired shots in the air and lit fires, but go no response. At 8:15 p.m., Managhan reported the pair missing from a telephone at the Halfway House bar on Highway 56.

Pennie Gustin and her mother, Linda, drove to Berray Mountain and spent the night where the hunters had planned to meet.

"It was terrible," Pennie Gustin said about her son and father missing. "I kept faith in my father, but you always think the worst. I was hoping my dad was OK enough to get through the ordeal."

Early Monday afternoon, friend Pam Tallmadge and Bryce were driving around looking for the pair.

"They found them sitting on a guardrail on Highway 56 at Berray Creek," Pennie Gustin said. "I was just astounded and glad to see they were both safe and in good health."