An adventurous Oakland couple who had been out of contact with family members for a month - and believed to be missing - were heard from on Tuesday in Peru.
An adventurous Oakland couple who had been out of contact with family members for a month - and believed to be missing - finally called home Wednesday to tell their families they are fine.
Garrett Hand and Jamie Neal, both 25, were unaware they were the subject of a search until Tuesday when they when government officials found them aboard a small-moving vessel on the Napo River on their way to Ecuador.
Hand called his Mom around 3 p.m. Wednesday.
He also update his Facebook page. He added the words "I am alive" to his timeline.
Neal also updated her Facebook page saying, "I'm sorry if you have been worried.. we've been traveling through the Amazon and the villages do not have electricity let alone internet or phones."
The two said they are now stuck on a military base in Pantoja, Peru. They are apparently quite famous in the South American country as news of their "lost" status spread.
The two said they are waiting for a friend to come down the same river and hoped he would have their bikes and luggage.
One of the Facebook messages read "This is f---ing insane." Neal said a tourist ambassador of Peru was flying in to meet them tomorrow "to interview us and bring us gifts."
The avid cyclists left for South America at the end of November and regularly chronicled their journey through Facebook, but the updates stopped on Jan. 25, along with any financial activity on the couple’s bank accounts and credit cards.
The couple was unaware of the search effort, which picked up steam over late last week when family members took to social media to generate awareness and help. The family set up a Facebook page called Missing in Peru Garrett Hand and Jamie Neal.
On Feb. 13, the U.S. Embassy in Lima warned Americans of a potential kidnapping threat by an unnamed criminal organization in the Cusco area. The embassy reported the threat to be "credible at least through the end of February."