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'They Were Protecting The Baby': Four Boys Lost In Blizzard Found Alive

Four boys, aged between two and 14, have been found alive huddled together in a hole after they went missing during a blizzard in rural Alaska.

The boys used their resources to protect the youngest child, according to rescuers.

The children were found on Monday after going missing Sunday, near the village of Nunam Iqua, on Alaska's west coast, a representative with Emmonak Search and Rescue told CNN.

Crews found the boys bundled together. The older kids dug a hole in the snow, about a foot deep, and huddled around the two-year-old to protect him from the elements, according to Alaska Public Media.

“They were protecting the baby,” said rescue volunteer Herschel Sundown.

When asked how the children got so far from their village during the blizzard, one official noted, "In wintertime, our storms are very bad. Sense of direction is not to be played with."

Alaska State Troopers received a report Sunday at 6:25 pm local time that the children hadn't returned from a snow-machine ride near the remote, rural village of Nunam Iqua.

Officials were called after the children, who range in age from two to 14, were more than five hours late in returning home.

"At least three were appropriately dressed for the weather," said state patrol spokesperson Megan Peters at the time of the search.

There were winter storm warnings in effect throughout the region at the time state troopers were alerted, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.

The National Weather Service warned of high wind gusts and chills very low below zero, which can "cause frostbite in as little as 10 minutes to exposed skin," the NWS said.

The four children were identified as Christopher Johnson, 14, Frank Johnson, 8, Ethan Camille, 7, and Trey Camille, 2.

Army National Guard and USCG helicopters were called in Sunday to assist, but blizzard conditions hampered visibility.

Nunam Iqua has an estimated population of about 200 people, according to the US Census Bureau.