Man found alive after missing nearly a week on Mount St. Helens survived on bees, berries

Crews are searching for 40-year-old Matthew Matheny who left to go to Mount St. Helens Thursday and never came home. The vehicle he was driving was found near the Blue Lake Trail Saturday. Photo courtesy Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office

A man who had been missing in the wilderness around Mount St. Helens for nearly a week was been found alive Wednesday, rescue officials said.

Rescue crews had been searching for 40-year-old Matthew B. Matheny, a registered nurse from Warren, Ohio since Saturday morning. They say he was last seen about 7 a.m. Thursday, driving his friend’s gray Subaru Outback.

According to officials, he was found alive Wednesday in a gully on the flanks of the mountain.

He was flown to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver.

Matheny was conscious and talking with rescue teams when he was found, but he was dehydrated and could no longer walk on his own.

Based on Matheny’s cellphone records, he traveled several miles up toward Mount St. Helens along the Blue Lake Trail.

Deputies said they found his friend's Subaru at the Blue Lake Trailhead on Saturday.

After visiting him in the hospital, Matheny's parents, Linda and Carney Matheny, said their son survived by eating huckleberries and bees he had killed.

"I don't know where he learned that," his mother said, but possibly from his time in the Boy Scouts.

He started out with two liters of water, but his parents said he found no water after Thursday. He also had taken some snacks with him and had only worn a t-shirt and shorts.

His parents said the search-and-rescue crews were professional and they expressed their appreciation to them several times during an interview with KATU News.

"We're kind of overwhelmed with the professionalism, the kindness with everybody involved up there," said Linda. "The cooperation (between agencies) was amazing. We were overwhelmed with the number of volunteers, their attitude that they were going to find him. And they did."

Matheny's parents said their son is in good physical condition and has a strong will to live.

Matheny was in the Pacific Northwest on vacation and visiting a friend, Michael Bush, who had also helped in the search. He said he is relieved his friend is all right, but the last week has been trying.

"This morning was one of them. Last night was pretty rough. My wife and I had our lowest point together last night; being as far out as we are from him being missing, we didn’t think we would see him alive again to be honest with you," Bush said.

Matheny remains in the hospital for observation.

Other hikers who were out there over the weekend said they saw a man in the area who was wearing a gray sweatshirt, shorts and sandals, which matches what Matheny had on when he went missing.

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