(NBC NEWS) - A Nevada family who survived three days and two nights in below-freezing temperatures wouldn't "have lasted another two days," Christina McIntee, one of the rescued, told Savannah Guthrie in a Today Show exclusive interview.
McIntee, her boyfriend James Glanton, their two children and McIntee’s niece and nephew disappeared in the Seven Troughs mountain range on Sunday, Dec. 8. The temperature on the range was 21 degrees below zero on Sunday night, and below zero again on Monday night.
I got scared the second day," McIntee said.
Rescuers found the family huddled inside their overturned Jeep on Tuesday, in what officials called a "miracle."
The ordeal began after the group did not return from a trip to play in the snow near their hometown of Lovelock, about 100 miles northeast of Reno. They were ultimately found "four miles from civilization," according to Nevada wing Civil Air Patrol Col. Timothy F. Hahn.
"We were coming downhill and hit a patch of ice and it just shot us over in the bank," said Glanton. "It was a really slow-motion rollover. It didn't even shatter the window. It broke the top of it, but it didn't shatter the window."
The kids, who range in age from 3 to 10, were "awesome" and "calm," said McIntee.
"The boys saw it as just camping in the jeep," said Glanton. "They were actually really good about it."
Glanton defended the family's decision to take a drive in the mountains, saying, "That's what we do. We're from a small town. We don't have anything in the way of entertainment besides the hills. That's what we do. That's where we live."
The family survived thanks to some smart moves — gathering sage brush for kindling, burning a spare tire, staying in their overturned Jeep to make it easier for rescuers to locate them, and heating rocks to warm the vehicle.