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Treasure hunter ordered to pay $3000 after being airlifted from Yellowstone in 2018

Treasure hunter ordered to pay $3000 after being airlifted from Yellowstone in 2018
Mark Lantis has been found guilty of misdemeanor and reckless disorderly conduct

A treasure hunter who lost his way in the Yellowstone National Park will now have to pay $2,880 (£ 2,155) for the cost of his rescue.

Mark Lantis was found guilty of misdemeanour and reckless disorderly conduct, said documents from the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit on 2 November, cited in recent media reports.

The court affirmed a magistrate court’s conclusion that “Lantis behaved recklessly by consciously disregarding a risk that he was aware of.”

The incident dates back to August 2018 when Mr Lantis’s mother dropped him off for a day-long hike at Yellowstone National Park.

Mr Lantis, who is in his 40s, planned to hike the Mount Holmes trail and search for buried treasure near the peak of the mountain and then return to be picked up at the trailhead, stated court documents.

He was searching for what was known as the Forrest Fenn treasure, a chest of gold coins and other items that were hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains by millionaire art dealer Forrest Fenn.

The treasure contained $1m (£747,300) in gold and jewels.

For decades, treasure hunters have dug up mountains and canyons to search for the hidden treasure.

File: Art dealer Forrest Fenn sparked the search for the loot

On his way to Mount Holmes, Mr Lantis claimed he found bear fur and scat on the trail. When he reached the base of the mountain, he decided to take a different route back to avoid the bear signs and thought this route would take him downhill faster.

He, however, later called his sister and informed her that he would not be making it out of the park that night and stated in court that he “spent the night wet, cold [and] scared.”

The next day, a park ranger asked Mr Lantis to call 911 so his GPS location could be found, and he could be guided out of the park. The ranger continued to give him directions through the day, but by 5.45pm he informed the ranger that he was “unable to continue and needed help.”

A helicopter was then sent in to rescue Mr Lantis as it was too late for someone to hike to his spot.

The ranger charged him for disorderly conduct and for knowingly creating a risk of public alarm.

A magistrate court later found him guilty of disorderly conduct, banned him from visiting Yellowstone National Park for five years and imposed the fine.

The district court, in its judgment, upheld the magistrate court’s earlier judgement. It said that since Mr Lantis had started the hike with water, bear spray, a cellphone and a GPS device, he was likewise aware of the risks of the trail and consciously disregarded them.

The Forrest Fenn treasure was discovered last year in June last year. At least four people died trying to locate the treasure.