Teen hiker lost in Tennessee forest for 11 days turns up 'looking fine'

'I felt hungry the first couple of days and after that the hunger just kind of went away because I guess my brain figured it didn't need to send that signal'

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Saturday 26 August 2017 16:14
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The view from a cable car in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
The view from a cable car in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

A teenager who went missing in a dense Tennessee forest for 11 days has been found in "good condition".

Austin Bohanan got lost after being separated from his stepfather during a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The 18-year-old, who managed to survive for nearly two weeks without any food, said he was not "scared" and followed his instincts.

"The main thing was just keep my calm, keep my cool, just keep moving. It's just instinct, I guess, that came out," the avid camper told ABC News.

"I prayed literally every night and day and it helped me drive forward."

The teenager told how he got lost while looking for his stepfather's glasses that he had dropped along the way.

Austin was found after being lost for 11 days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

"[I] was trying to search a little bit," he said. "I guess he went on a little bit, trying to find his lenses and I didn't see him again after that."

He said he tried shouting for his stepfather but found no signs of where he might have gone.

He also told how he stopped feeling hunger after the first two days, once his body realised there was no food available.

"I felt hungry the first couple of days and after that the hunger just kind of went away because I guess my brain figured it didn't need to send that signal," he said.

More than 100 people scoured the nearly 7,000 acre park looking for Austin, with helicopters, dogs and boats joining the search.

Austin said he followed a creek at the base of the mountain where he eventually spotted kayaks and a boat that came to his aid and alerted authorities.

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