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‘Could have easily gone other direction,’ local veterinarian talks about rescue

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Where are they now? On CBS 6 at 4 p.m. this week, host Steve Harvey will profile people who spent time in the spotlight years ago: Salt N Pepa, Bret Michaels, Flavor Flav, Jj Walker and the cast of Good Times.

We caught up with some of the people locally whose memorable news stories were featured in our newscast, to see how they are doing now.

In 2012, veterinarian Dr. Jason Hiser was hiking through Mount Glacier National Park in Montana with his friend Dr. Neal Peckens, when they both got lost in the snowy wilderness for days. They had to survive 18 inches of snow, along with bitter cold.

Dr. Jason Hiser and Dr. Neal Peckens

Dr. Jason Hiser and Dr. Neal Peckens

"We built a huge S.O.S. signal on the side of the hill using burnt down pine trees so they were black,” Hiser detailed. “We hung these neon orange flags from trees so we could be seen.”

He said in addition to those efforts,  “that we did a lot of sitting around and just conserving energy.”

“That's not good because when you're sitting you're thinking,” he added.

Hiser's wife Jane was 8-months pregnant at the time.

The community here in Richmond and across the country waited for three long days for word that Hiser and Peckens had been found safe.

Against all odds, the hikers were eventually found by rescue crews and returned safely home to Virginia.

Dr. Jason Hiser

Dr. Jason Hiser

Hiser says he thinks about the incident almost daily and that people still ask him about it all the time.

“I'm grateful that I got to see the last four years since it happened because it could have easily gone the other direction,” Hiser said. “I could have never come home; I could have never seen my son be born or have any of the last four years.”

Hiser returned home in October 2012 and his son Colton was born two months later.

He says his friend Neal has been back hiking again. But Hiser says he hasn't had the chance because his three-year-old son has been keeping him pretty busy.