A group of 16 hikers, including men, women and small children were found safe Saturday evening near Cumberland Falls State Park.
Whitley County Emergency Management Director Danny Moses said the hikers were found about 9:30 p.m. by rescue workers on trail number two about three miles from their vehicles.
The group started hiking about 4:30 p.m.
"One of them, it was his 18th birthday. They went down to the falls to kind of celebrate it. I assume that will be a memorable birthday for that gentlemen," Moses noted.
The group, which didn’t have a flashlight, started running out of daylight and used their cell phones for light initially, but the batteries quickly ran out, Moses said.
Then they stopped to build a campfire to keep the children warm.
The group was reported missing about 8:50 p.m., and rescuers located them about 9:30 p.m.
"Once we were able to go down with flashlights, everybody was able to come out OK," Moses said.
All 16 hikers had exited the woods by 10:30 p.m.
Moses said they were about three miles away from their vehicles. No one was injured.
Moses said the group did the smart thing by making camp when darkness set in, and waiting for daylight or until somebody found them.
"That’s one of the good ones that turned out well," Moses added.
Oak Grove and Woodbine volunteer fire departments had about 20 rescuers that helped search for the group. Moses said it’s fortunate that a lot of people are now qualified to assist with ground searches.
The park ranger and Whitley County Emergency Management also assisted.