Hiker found, taken to hospital

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After a full day of search efforts, rangers found a missing hiker in Rocky Mountain National Park, according to the park service.

Rangers were travelling east bound on Trail Ridge Road, where they had searched extensively, when they saw Jay Starr Jr. lying on a rock along the shoulder of the road. Starr was found in poor condition and was initially uncooperative. Starr was subsequently provided care and assistance. Due to Starr’s exposure above treeline over multiple days he was flown by Flight for Life to Medical Center of the Rockies.

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Snowy search at Rocky

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A snowy search is on for an unprepared hiker on highest paved road in US. Here’s the rundown from the National Park Service:

On Monday, Jan. 26, park rangers contacted Jay Starr Jr, 34, from Cohoes, New York. Starr had entered Rocky Mountain National Park on foot and indicated he was planning to walk westbound over Trail Ridge Road. Rangers advised him against this based on his behavior and his lack of preparedness for winter alpine conditions. Starr was wearing tennis shoes, jeans or tan canvas pants, a black/blue jacket, no hat or gloves and was carrying a plastic grocery bag.

Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, with its highest point reaching 12,183 feet. Over ten miles of the road are above 11,500 feet. The road closed to vehicles for the season on Nov. 4, 2014. The closures are located at Many Parks Curve on the east side and Colorado River Trailhead on the west side. The road is not maintained during the winter. Conditions on the road range from bare wind-blown asphalt to deep snow drifts.

On Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 27, park rangers on skis contacted Starr above Many Parks Curve on Trail Ridge Road. Rangers were concerned for his welfare and were attempting to assist him. Starr fled from rangers up a dry section of the road. Starr continued to elude rangers until darkness fell.

Beginning early on Wednesday, Jan. 28, two teams of rangers attempted to locate Starr again on Trail Ridge Road. One team came from the east side of the park and the other team came from the west side of the park.Rangers faced wind gusts of 50 to 60 miles per hour. These high winds and blowing snow hampered following Starr’s footprints. Aerial operations were not possible due to high winds. The entire road corridor was checked, and Starr was not located.

On Thursday, Jan. 29, rangers are again attempting to locate Starr in areas around Trail Ridge Road. Aerial operations may be used if conditions allow. Park rangers have been assisted the last two days by a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer with an All-Terrain Vehicle equipped with snow tracks. The operations are also being aided by an over-snow tracked vehicle and operator from Estes Park Power and Light. The motorized equipment is only being used on Trail Ridge Road.

Search enters fifth day at Olympic

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hiking_iconSearch and rescue crews continue to look for signs is a 60-year-old hiker reported missing last week at Olympic National Park in Washington.

Here’s an update from the National Park Service’s Morning Report:

Major Search In Progress For Missing Day Hiker
Dec. 29, 2014

Sunday marked the fifth day of an ongoing interagency search for a 60-year-old Port Angeles man who failed to return from a day hike he took in the park last Monday.

Searchers from the park, Olympic Mountain Rescue, Tacoma Mountain Rescue, Clallam County SAR, Jefferson County SAR, and two dog teams from German Shepherd’s Search Dogs continued to search the Olympic Hot Springs area over the weekend.

Jim Griffin, who frequently hikes the two-and-a-half-mile trail to the hot springs, went for a day hike there on Monday, Dec. 22. On Wednesday, Dec. 24, around 10 p.m., friends reported Griffin overdue when he did not show up for Christmas Eve dinner.

Three NPS searchers began the search that evening and continued through the night. On Christmas Day, two two-person teams searched for Griffin. Several friends of Griffins, including the reporting party, assisted in the efforts on both Thursday and Friday.

On the afternoon of Christmas Day, Griffin’s day pack was located 50 feet off trail about a half mile from the trailhead. On Friday, eight search groups, including three dog teams, searched until dark. The park also attempted to use Griffin’s dog in the search, but the dog was not able to indicate where Griffin might be.

On Saturday, 21 searchers and two dogs resumed the effort to find him. The search teams completed a grid search within 500 feet of the location where Griffin’s day pack was found. They covered the entire search area in a grid pattern about ten feet apart, but no clues were found.

Park incident team members spoke to a couple on Saturday who had a conversation with Griffin at the hot springs. They believe he left the springs around 4 p.m. on Monday, which would mean he hiked back in the dark.
On Sunday, three teams were in the field and were joined by a group of Griffins’ friends. No sign of him was found. The search will be suspended today, but the investigation will continue.

Anyone who was at the Olympic Hot Springs, on the trail, or at the parking lot last Monday is asked to contact park dispatch at 360-565-3115. Even the smallest piece of information might help in the search.

Longs Peak search

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Here’s the latest on a missing hiker at Rocky Mountain National Park:

Search underway at Longs Peak

On November 17, rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park were notified that Peter Jeffris, 25, from Broomfield, Colorado, was overdue from a mountaineering trek in the Longs Peak area. His car was located in the parking lot at the Longs Peak Trailhead. He reportedly left Sunday morning to summit Longs Peak and did not arrive at work on Monday. It is unclear what route he was planning, but he indicated to friends he was considering the Cables Route on the north face. He was not prepared to spend the night.

A Park Search and Rescue team searched a small segment of the area until dark last night. Today teams will search the north face, Keyhole Route, Chasm Cirque area and along the Longs Peak Trail. They are being assisted by Rocky Mountain Rescue and Larimer County Search and Rescue. There are 32 people involved in the search efforts.

Weather on Sunday and Monday included snow, high winds and bitter temperatures. Today, teams are facing extremely high winds, blowing snow and gusts up to 85 mph at 14,000 feet. Aerial search efforts are not possible due to extreme winds.

Rainier search ends

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Here’s the latest on the search for a missing hiker at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington:

Search for Missing Hiker Suspended
Date: June 21, 2014,

9:00 pm –The search for missing hiker Karen Sykes was suspended today with the retrieval of a deceased female from the search area at approximately 3 pm. The identification of the victim will be established by the Pierce County Medical Examiner. The victim was discovered off-trail near the eastern branch of Boundary Creek in rough, steep terrain. The area is difficult to access and not commonly traveled.

Seven ground crews and one helicopter were involved in today’s search. 110 personnel were assigned over the course of the incident including volunteers and staff from North Cascades, Olympic, and Mount Rainier national parks. Special thanks go out to the organizations that provided highly trained search personnel including the German Shepherd Search and Rescue of Washington State, Kittatas County dog teams, King County Explorers, and Everett, Olympic, Central, and Seattle Mountain Rescues. An MD-530 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters in Olympia, Washington provided air support.
Eastside Search for Missing Hiker Continues
Date: June 21, 2014

The third day of searching for missing day hiker, Karen Sykes of Seattle, Washington, is underway on Mount Rainier’s east side. Six ground crews, including two Kittatas County dog teams, are searching an expanded area further out from the Owyhigh Lakes Trail. Air operations are also supporting today’s search efforts.

The search area is in steep, rugged terrain with snow cover starting at the 4500-6500 foot level. Current safety concerns for Ms. Sykes and ground crews include snow bridges, tree wells, and steep, wet, and slippery terrain. A searcher sustained an injury caused by punching through a snow bridge on Thursday, June 19. He was air lifted out of the search area.

On Wednesday, June 18th, Ms. Sykes was hiking the Owyhigh Lakes Trail with a partner when they parted at 3 pm with the intention to meet back at that location. She went ahead when the party of two encountered snow at approximately 4500-5000 feet in elevation. Her partner stayed at the location last seen, as arranged, to wait for her return. When she failed to return to the point last seen and eventually to the trailhead her partner called in an overdue hiker report at 10:30 pm.

Ms. Sykes is an outdoor journalist, marathon runner, and considered a knowledgeable, experienced hiker. She had adequate survival gear to overnight in the event of an emergency.

The German Shepherd Search and Rescue of Washington State, Kittatas County dog teams, King County Explorers, and Everett, Olympic, and Seattle Mountain Rescue personnel have been or are actively involved in the search efforts. An MD-530 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters in Olympia, Washington is providing air support.

A temporary flight restriction is in place covering a six mile radius from Barrier Peak to 12,000 feet in elevation.


Missing in Mesa Verde

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Rangers and other rescue workers are searching Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado for a 52-year old Texas man that was reported missing Sunday, June 9, according to the National Park Service.

Mitchell Stehling told his wife and parents he was going to visit Spruce Tree House. When he did not return, they notified park dispatchers. A hasty search of Spruce Canyon, Spruce Tree House, Petroglyph Trail and other trails on Chapin Mesa was initiated following the report. Crews were out early Monday morning expanding the search area on foot, by horseback and by helicopter. Two dog teams from Dolores Canine Search and Rescue are also assisting in the search. Approximately 30 people searched multiple trails and canyons until late evening.

Crews resumed their search this morning. They are being joined by 20 members of the San Juan National Forest Hot Shots bringing the total number of personnel involved to 50.

Temperatures in the park are in the 90s. The terrain consists of steep canyons and mesa tops at an elevation between 6,500 and 8,000 feet. Mr. Stehling was last seen wearing a brown shirt and hat, khaki shorts and hiking boots. He was not carrying any water or other gear.

Lake Mead body could be missing airman

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In June, an Air Force crew chief from Creech Air Base disappeared after going for a swim while boating on Lake Mead. This week, a dive company located and recovered a body believed to be that of Antonio Tucker.

Below is the National Park Service release on the operation.

For more background, check out this Air Force News piece.

April 17, 2013

BOULDER CITY, Nev. – The body of an adult male was recovered from Lake Mead April 17 during a permitted search and recovery operation. His identity has not yet been confirmed by the Clark County Medical Examiner.

Earth Resource Group, a Las Vegas-based search and recovery organization, obtained a permit to search for Antonio Tucker, a 28-year-old airman who presumably drowned at Lake Mead June 23. The group’s search efforts began April 15 within one square nautical mile of the point where Tucker was last seen in the Boulder Basin.

At around noon April 16, the group identified an object that appeared to be human using side scan sonar. After notifying National Park Service rangers, they deployed a remote operated underwater vehicle equipped with a camera and again located the object at a depth of 280 feet.

The National Park Service and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department planned to recover the body April 16, but strong winds postponed efforts.

Law enforcement officials returned to the scene around 9 a.m. April 17. The permitted crew and divers from LVMPD Search and Rescue brought the body to the surface at 10:48 a.m. where it was confirmed to be an adult male.

The Clark County Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy.

Grand Canyon body identified

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Park Service officials have identified a body discovered in Grand Canyon National Park on March 21 as that of missing Colorado resident Kaitlin Anne Kenney, but a cause of death hasn’t been released. Kennedy, 21, disappeared Jan. 11 while at a camp about 30 miles upstream from where her body was found. Here’s the National Park Service account:

Date: April 1, 2013

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – The body of a woman recovered from the Colorado River within Grand Canyon National Park on March 22 has been identified as that of Kaitlin Anne Kenney.

Kenney was last seen on the evening of Friday, January 11, at a river camp located near Tapeats Creek (river mile 134.5) on the north side of the Colorado River.

Rangers used the park’s helicopter to search the river corridor and area trails for two days after Kenney was reported missing. In addition, ground-based search and rescue teams thoroughly searched the accessible trails, beaches, drainages and backcountry areas in the vicinity.

With no additional clues to guide search efforts on land, the search was eventually scaled back to a continuous, but limited mode in which rangers and pilots continued to search for clues when in the area. In addition, flyers with Kenney’s picture and description remained posted at popular river trip launch and takeout points.

On Thursday, March 21, a private river trip reported finding a woman’s body in the river at about river mile 165. The next day, the body was transported to the rim by helicopter and transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

Late last week, the Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the body was that of 21-year old Kaitlin Anne Kenney of Englewood, Colorado.

The National Park Service is continuing its investigation into Kenney’s death in coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office. No additional information is available at this time.

Body recovered from Colorado River

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Authorities have recovered the body of a woman from the Colorado River at the Grand Canyon, but there is no word yet if it is the remains of an Englewood, Colo., woman who disappeared in earlier this year.

In January, we wrote about 21-year-old Kaitlin Anne Kennedy, who went missing during in river trip.

On Wednesday, boaters called rangers from a satellite phone to report finding a woman’s body at river mile 165 near Tuckup Canyon. The following morning, park rangers were flown to the area and brought the body back to the rim via helicopter, according National Park Service Officials.

The identity and other details haven’t been released pending positive identification and notification of relatives, but the Arizona Daily Sun pointed out the body was found about 30 miles down stream from where Kennedy disappeared.

For more information on Kennedy’s disappearance, go to:  http://blog.skulldiggersguild.com/2013/01/17/search-on-for-woman-missing-in-grand-canyon.aspx

Update: Body found in search

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After five days of searching, officials at Rocky Mountain National Park said they have recovered a body believed to be a missing Texas man.

Two people on snowshoes reported finding the remains Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 5) north and west of Bear Lake, where Troy Green’s vehicle was discovered last week. It was in a timber area about 100 feet off a summer hiking trail, National Park Service officials said.

The identification of the body is pending the completion of an autopsy by the Larimer County Coroner’s Office, but Park Service officials said they were body is that of Green, 39, of San Antonio.

The body was located near the Flattop Mountain Trail, which was inside the search area but approximately one mile north of the Tyndall Gorge and Nymph Lake region where search managers believed that Green may have hiked. He was found in an area that had been searched several times by ground personnel, a dog team, and helicopter over-flights. Green’s body was against a tree and he was wearing dark-colored clothing.

Green was was in Colorado to attend a conference in Denver, and his wife reported him missing on Thursday (Jan. 31) when she didn’t hear from him. Rangers found his rental car in the Bear Lake parking lot early Friday.

Search scaled back

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Searchers are scaling back the hunt for a Texas man who disappeared while exploring trails around Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, according to park service officials.

Troy Green was last week hiking Thursday as part of a side trip while visiting Denver for a conference. Authorities began searching after finding his rental vehicle parked near the lake on Friday, but snow has hampered their efforts over the weekend.

On Monday, officials said they were pulling back because of safety concerns and a lack of leads.

Plane and helicopter searchers noticed a number of avalanches in the area, but there were no signs they were caused by people, officials said. Futher plans includie using small teams of rangers to check challenging terrain in the Bear Lake and lower Tyndall Gorge areas.

Update: Bear Lake search

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Searchers muster at Bear Lake Trailhead. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

 Authorities searching for a missing Texas man in Rocky Mountain National Park said they have a confirmed sighting of Troy Green the day before he disappeared. Green, who had traveled to Colorado to attend a conference, was reported wearing winter gear on the Bear Lake Trail. He was seen Thursday, Jan. 31, while it was snowing and was report missing the following day, Friday.

Since then rangers and law enforcement have been combing the area but have come up empty. Officials said no new snow fell Saturday night, and the weekend brought hundreds of for hikers and skiers to the area.
Here’s the National Park Service’s release on the developments:
New Information Assists With Search Efforts
Date: Feb. 3, 2013
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK — Park rangers heard from two witnesses who indicated they spoke with Troy Green at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Bear Lake Trailhead but did not see what direction he went from there. Between witness reports and park rangers’ investigation, it is now known that Mr. Green purchased additional gear after he arrived in Colorado. It is possible that he was wearing black snow pants, a black puffy down jacket, black gloves and a black balaclava. He also was seen wearing hiking boots and a royal blue and grey Camelback. At the time the two witnesses spoke with him, it was snowing and there were high winds.      
The third day of search efforts began early this morning, Sunday, Feb. 3, for a missing man from San Antonio, Texas. Green was reported missing Friday afternoon. Today, 45 searchers were involved plus a number of search dogs. Park rangers were assisted by Larimer County Search and Rescue, Rocky Mountain Rescue, Douglas County Search and Rescue, Arapahoe Rescue Patrol, and Summit County Rescue. Searchers continued to concentrate their efforts on the popular Bear Lake system of trails; focusing on off- trail areas particularly in the Mill Creek Drainage and in the Flattop Mountain area. Intensive search efforts occurred in the area between Bear Lake and Dream Lake. Aerial search efforts continued over this entire area. Search efforts will be suspended again at dark. Yesterday, 35 searchers were involved and recon flights occurred over the search area. Searchers continue to face winter conditions with deep snow, winds and drifting snow. 
There was no new snowfall in the Bear Lake area last night. Snow depths and conditions vary in the area depending on the elevation. At Bear Lake, located at 9,475 feet, there was 9 inches of new snow from Wednesday through Friday. There are numerous trails that leave from the Bear Lake area. It is unknown where Mr. Green’s destination was or what kind of clothing he was wearing.
Mr. Green was planning to attend a conference in Denver. When his wife did not hear from him on Thursday, Jan. 31, she contacted the Denver Police Department. He did not arrive at the conference on Friday. On Friday afternoon, an advisory was given for his rental car that matched a vehicle found early Friday morning by park rangers at the Bear Lake parking lot.

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