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Peru official: Missing Bay Area couple safe

LIMA, Peru — Peru's tourism minister said he spoke with a young Bay Area man who has been reported missing along with his girlfriend for more than a month and that the couple is navigating an Amazon tributary headed for Ecuador.

Jose Luis Silva said Wednesday that when he told Garrett Hand about all the commotion he and girlfriend Jamie Neal caused by failing to notify relatives of their whereabouts, the 25-year-old was surprised and laughed, saying that everything in Peru was "fantastic."

Silva did not say how he contacted the couple, who are reportedly on the Napo River in the Amazon region.

Francine Fitzgerald, the mother of Hand, and a resident of Concord, California, a suburb of San Francisco, said on Wednesday she talked to her son by phone earlier in the day.

"I'm so glad my son is well," she told KCBS radio.


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