Lost college students rescued from Pine Mountain

WHITESBURG, Ky. (WKYT) - 40 college students visiting Kentucky from Pennsylvania had to be rescued on Thursday night from the top of Pine Mountain in Letcher County.

The group got lost and became stranded on the mountain while out for a hike.

"I'd say on top of that mountain it was about 10 or 15 degrees," says Joshua Benton.

Benton was one of 75 people who climbed the mountain to try and rescue the group.

"There was probably six inches of snow and ice," Benton says. "Water, tree limbs down, trees down, it was a rough obstacle."

Rescuers say members of the group weren't even close to being dressed for the conditions.

"Most of them had on sweatpants, boots, little thin jackets."

The group from La Salle University in Philadelphia came to Kentucky to do work for Habitat For Humanity on spring break. It's a 37 year tradition for the school. While they're there, they hike to the top of Pine Mountain to sign a special rock.

"They never actually made it to the rock. We found everybody sitting around two campfires. In panic...in panic. I guess they had set so long that they was cramping up," Benton says. "They didn't know how they was going to get out of there, how we was going to get them out of there. I guess they thought they was going to die."

Several of those students were checked out at a hospital. A spokesperson for Whitesburg ARH says they're keeping one of those students at the hospital as a precaution.

A spokesperson for La Salle University says the students are scheduled to arrive back on campus tomorrow.

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