MEDFORD, Mass. (AP) - After spending two nights off the track at a Maine ski resort, a 17-year-old Massachusetts boy returned home Wednesday to welcome-home balloons and a banner on the front porch.
Nicholas Joy's mother, Donna Joy, told reporters outside the family home in the Boston suburb of Medford that her son is well, "in a good frame of mind" and relieved to be home, but he isn't ready to speak to the media.
"He's a strong, smart kid and we're very proud of him," she said. She said the family is thankful for the thoughts and prayers of supporters, and she called her son's rescuer an "angel.'
Nicholas Joy spent Tuesday night at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine, as wardens and the ski area tried to determine how he got sidetracked into the wilds.
He got lost on the back side of Sugarloaf Mountain after skiing with his father Sunday. After an extensive search involving 85 people from state, military and volunteer organizations, Joy was found Tuesday morning on an access road by a snowmobiler, an off-duty Massachusetts firefighter, who went out looking for him.
The teenager had fashioned a shelter under a rock ledge and lined the spot with snow and evergreen branches to protect himself for two nights, said Maine Warden Service Cpl. John MacDonald. Rescuers said Joy apparently borrowed ideas from survival shows he enjoys watching on television.
Hoping to retrace Joy's movements, wardens on Wednesday followed his path down the mountain, MacDonald said. Sugarloaf officials, meanwhile, checked where Joy went out of bounds to see if there is any way it can improve signs warning skiers not to venture farther, said ski area spokesman Ethan Austin. Wardens and Sugarloaf both were in contact with Joy on Wednesday.
MacDonald estimated the warden service's cost of search operations was about $15,000. State law authorizes the warden service to charge for those expenses if it's the result of negligent or reckless behavior. No decision on that had been made Wednesday.