Missing California Cyclists Found on a Boat in South America
(NEW YORK) -- A young California couple thought to be missing for a month while on a cycling trip through South America has been located on a boat and were surprised to hear of the search for them, according to Peru's tourism ministry.
The couple was found on a slow-moving boat and are expected to arrive at the Ecuador and Peru border Wednesday, where they will have access to a phone, according to Miguel Antezana, the communications director of Peru's Foreign Commerce and Tourism Ministry.
The families and friends of Garrett Hand and Jamie Neal, both 25, had been concerned about the couple ,who had not been heard from in over a month.
The couple was found on the Napo River at a place called Angoteros, according to Antezana. There, they spoke to the police and were surprised by all of the questions. They eventually asked what was going on and the police told them that they were considered missing persons.
The ministry is sending people with video cameras to the location where the boat is going to dock to show that they are alive and well.
Antezana said that it appears that the couple simply did not want to communicate with their families because they could have done so in Iquitos.
Earlier Tuesday, Hand's mother told Good Morning America that the family had checked his bank records and found there was no bank activity since Jan. 25, the same day as the couple's last Facebook post.
"How is my son traveling without getting any money?" Francine Fitzgerald asked. "How is my son eating?"
The couple embarked on their journey at the end of November, or early December.
As the couple cycled through the continent, they frequently posted updates and photos on Facebook, chronicling their journey. They posted photos of camping, the wildlife and the people they met along the way.
The last post was on Jan. 25 and said, "Finally found Kraft Mac 'n' cheese in South America! Stoked LOL." The couple had not been heard from since, which worried their families and friends.
"They would post sometimes several times a day, pictures telling us where they were and then we all noticed that his postings stopped," Fitzgerald said on Good Morning America.
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