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3 missing sisters found safe, hungry in Wyoming

This undated family photo released by the Teton County Sheriff's Office shows Megan Margaret Andrews-Sharer, center, with sisters, Erin, right, and Kelsi. A search is being conducted in a northwest Wyoming wilderness area for the three Wisconsin sisters who failed to return Tuesday, July 7, 2015, from an extended backcountry trip. (Teton County Sheriff's Office via AP)

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities found three Midwestern sisters who had been missing in the Wyoming wilderness for days on Thursday.

The sisters were in good health, but cold and hungry. All three lived in Arizona at one point and two attended Desert Vista High School in Phoenix.

More than 60 people looked for the girls on horseback, on foot and with help from tracking dogs and two helicopters, said Lori Iverson, spokeswoman for the multiagency task force conducting the search.

The search began Tuesday after the sisters failed to return from their backcountry excursion. They left on June 28 and were scheduled to be in Chicago on Tuesday, Iverson said. It wasn’t clear how long the girls planned to be in the wilderness, she said.

Their vehicle was found Wednesday at a wilderness trailhead in Bridger-Teton National Forest, about 25 miles southeast of the resort town of Jackson. The area has mountains climbing more than 11,000 feet, including Antoinette Peak.

Megan Margaret Andrews-Sharer, 25, of Milwaukee; Erin Andrews-Sharer, 22, of Columbus, Ohio; and Kelsi Andrews-Sharer, 16, also of Columbus, are experienced backcountry trekkers that spoke to a U.S. Forest Service employee before hiking into the wilderness, Iverson said.

“They were well-prepared for the trip,” Iverson said. “They had the appropriate clothing, they had the appropriate gear.”

Their vehicle was found in an area popular for hiking, but people and wildlife have carved out many alternate trails that can confuse hikers, Iverson said.

“It’s very easy, even for experienced people, to get off course and make a wrong turn,” she said.

Bears are in the area, but no signs point to any encounters, Iverson said.

The sisters’ father is in Jackson but declined a request for an interview through Iverson. Their mother is on her way.

The Rev. Susan Patterson-Sumwalt of the United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, said the sisters had worshipped there as children and that Megan Andrews-Sharer had worked there until recently.

Megan Andrews-Sharer resigned recently to work on a farm in Wyoming, Patterson-Sumwalt said.

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