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Autistic man survives 3-week ordeal in Utah desert

4:25 PM, Jul 14, 2012   |    comments
The Escalante River carves its way through sandstone landscape on its way to Lake Powell about 40 miles away.
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The father of a 28-year-old autistic man who barely survived three weeks in remote southern Utah says his son was an experienced mountaineer but was out of his element in the harsh desert.

John LaFever tells The Associated Press that his son William made one crucial mistake: setting off for a 150-mile journey along the Escalante River without food or equipment that was apparently stolen before his trip got underway.

Authorities say William LaFever apparently didn't realize the distance involved with his plan to hike from Boulder, Utah, to Page, Ariz.

The father says William LaFever is recovering from starvation and dehydration and is being treated at a southern Utah hospital.

John LaFever says he's thanking God his son was found Thursday by a Utah Highway Patrol helicopter.

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