Six teen-agers from Buffalo Alternative High School spent a wet night lost in the rugged Allegheny National Forest near Bradford, Pa., but were found safe and unharmed Tuesday by forest rangers, authorities said.
The students, part of a group of 11 from the Buffalo school's yearly trip to help rangers improve hiking trails, became separated about 2:30 p.m. Monday.
"They took the wrong trail going in," said school Principal Ben Randall.
When the students failed to arrive at the Hopewell Campground by 9:30 p.m., forest rangers and the McKean County (Pa.) Sheriff's deputies were notified.
"It's mostly mountains in there," said Chief Deputy Chick Lattin. "People who get lost in there either end up by the lake or out on one of the roads."
At daybreak Tuesday, sheriff's deputies began looking for the students on the highways while forest rangers searched on foot and along Handsome Lake by boat. The students were found in a lean-to at the Handsome Lake campground about 11 a.m., only a mile from their intended destination.
"They had backpacks, food and extra clothes," Randall said. "Everyone was safe and sound and uninjured."
Despite the 21 hours they were lost, the students decided to stay and will remain through the week helping the forest service.