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RENO, Nevada (Reuters) - A couple and four young children missing in frigid weather since they went on an outing to play in the snow on Sunday in a remote mountain range in Nevada were found alive on Tuesday huddled in a canyon, a sheriff's dispatch supervisor said.
The couple had taken their two children and the woman's niece and nephew, who range in age from 3 to 10, to an abandoned mining camp in the Seven Troughs range of northwestern Nevada, Pershing County dispatch supervisor Sheila Reitz said.
A wide-scale search and rescue operation was launched, backed by a helicopter and two airplanes, as fears grew for their fate, with temperatures plunging to negative 21 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday night and remaining well below freezing the following night.
On Tuesday, a volunteer rescuer spotted the couple's vehicle with binoculars, and the six were found in good condition, Reitz said. Details of the group's ordeal were not immediately available.
"It's a big relief," Reitz said, adding that all were taken to a hospital in the nearby town of Lovelock for evaluation.
Nevada's KTVN-TV reported that the couple's Jeep had swerved off an embankment and rolled over on Sunday afternoon, and that the family members camped near the vehicle and started a fire as they waited for help.
They had food and water when rescuers reached them, and were treated for mild dehydration, the station reported. Local authorities could not immediately confirm the report.
Reitz identified the adults as James Glanton, 34, and Christina McIntee, 25. The children were identified as Shelby Schlag-Fitzpatrick, 10, Tate McIntee, 4, and Evan and Chloe Glanton, ages 5 and 3.
Reporting by Riley Snyder in Reno; Additional reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky from Olympia, Wash.; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Leslie Adler and Berenard Orr