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4 College Students Rescued from Kentucky Gorge amid Snowstorm: 'Potentially Life or Death Situation'

The young men, students at Asbury University, became stranded on Monday morning on top of a sandstone formation known as Courthouse Rock

<p>Kentucky State Police</p>

Kentucky State Police

• On Monday, the Kentucky State Police and multiple other agencies rescued four students from Asbury University who had become stranded overnight on Courthouse Rock

• A helicopter transported the group to a local fire department, where they were determined to be in "good spirits"

• Kentucky authorities, including Gov. Andy Beshear, are cautioning the public to be weather aware and to avoid unnecessary travel in the region

Four college students were rescued on Monday after they “underestimated” the weather conditions while camping at a popular Kentucky gorge, authorities said.

The young men, students at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, became stranded when they woke up covered in snow after spending the night on a sandstone formation known as Courthouse Rock in Red River Gorge, Powell County Search and Rescue said.

After determining that it was not safe to climb down, the group called for help at around 9:30 a.m. local time, authorities said.

Due to the icy weather conditions, first responders quickly realized that the best way to evacuate the students would be to use a helicopter, per Powell County Search and Rescue.

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The Kentucky State Police coordinated the evacuation along with multiple agencies, and shortly after 2 p.m., the men were flown to Middlefork Fire Department where Powell County EMS personnel evaluated their medical needs.

“Other than being cold, all four students seemed to be in good spirits,” Powell County Search and Rescue said.

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First responders called the rescue “one of the most dangerous” ever attempted in the gorge, due to several inches of snow, the wind, and icy rock faces.

Related: At Least 5 Dead as Cold Weather Rages Through Midwest

“Helicopters are inherently dangerous,” Powell County Search and Rescue said. “When that is deemed the safest option, you know you’ve found yourself in a potentially life or death situation.”

Officials on Monday — including Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear — cautioned those in the area to be aware of the weather, and to avoid unnecessary travel in the region.

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