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Four women missing in the Cascade Mountains found
Searchers have located four women who spent a frigid night in the Cascade Mountains after a snowshoeing trip went awry.
Vashon Island resident Marynell Matt and three other women reported they were lost Sunday afternoon after they went off trail at a popular recreation area near Snoqualmie Pass. Matt, 50, a gardener and landscaper who lives on the Island's north end, had a cell phone with her that she used to call 911, prompting a search led by the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office.
The women are OK, according to Charlotte Masi, a neighbor and friend of Matt's. She got a call around 1 p.m. Monday from the father of Matt's young son, who told her the news.
They don't have the women out of the mountains yet, Masi said. She expects they'll head to the hospital, where they'll be examined for hypothermia.
"I can't tell you what a big relief this is," said Masi, who spent Christmas Eve with Matt.
The women began their outing shortly after noon on Sunday, heading into the snowy Cascades from the popular Gold Creek Sno-Park off of Exit 54 on Interstate 90. About four hours into the excursion, Matt called 911 to report that she and her friends were lost. They had left the main trail and were traveling cross country, according to the sheriff's office.
At least seven inches of snow has fallen since the women reported they were missing, and a major snow storm is expected to hit the mountains tonight.
Rescuers, rushing against time, used snowshoes and snowmobiles and worked with a wireless phone provider to determine their exact location, Clay Myers, undersheriff at the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office, said.
One of the other women is Venetia Runion, 53, of West Seattle. The identities of the other two women are not yet known.