"Mountain Miracle": Search team said they didn't expect to find Kenneth Howard alive

Published: May. 16, 2019 at 1:56 PM EDT
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Rescuers were at Prestonsburg City Hall Thursday afternoon to tell the story of the "Mountain Miracle".

Kenneth Howard was found alive near an old strip mine on the Magoffin-Floyd County line. The 22-month-old went missing Sunday evening.

When crews found Kenneth Wednesday around 2:00 p.m., he was dehydrated but alive and in good condition, all things considered. He spent 67 hours in 1,400 ft. elevation where the temperatures dropped below 40 degrees, wearing only a t-shirt, sweatpants and no shoes.

A helicopter took him to a pediatric trauma center to be treated. Now, rescuers said the toddler is doing well and is eating.

"Probably can't get enough food," one rescuer said.

The family tells us that Kenneth is recovering from swelling on his legs and feet, tick bites and dehydration. They hope he will be discharged Friday.

Crews expanded the search area Wednesday. Searchers said they heard faint crying and, when they called Kenneth's name, he started yelling louder. When firefighters first reached him, all he wanted was a drink. Right after that, he wanted his mom and dad.

"We didn't expect him to be alive," said one man. "We didn't expect him to be there."

Family members tell us Kenneth's parents are tired, but can't keep their eyes off their little boy. So far, Kenneth has not said anything besides "drink".

Police do not suspect any criminal activity right now. They are still investigating what happened, but currently believe the toddler walked off on his own.

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