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Search In Progress For Missing Hiker

Katmai National Park and Preserve

National Park News

An air and ground search for a hiker missing in Katmai National Park in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes entered its third day yesterday. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 31st, the park received a call from an emergency radio at the Three Forks trailhead.  The caller reported that a member of his party had disappeared along the Lethe River while trying to recover his boots, which had fallen into the river at a crossing approximately nine miles up the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes from the trailhead. The remaining group of four had spent several hours looking for their 48-year-old companion, an experienced hiker, before hiking out to the trailhead and calling in the incident. The group of five Germans had planned to spend the last night of their four-day trip at Six-mile Camp (about six miles from the trailhead) before heading out to be picked up by a concessioner’s tour bus on August 1st. Efforts were still underway yesterday to notify the missing man’s family. A hasty search by two National Park Service ground crews and the park airplane was begun on Saturday evening, but poor visibility and the onset of darkness ended the search with no signs of the missing hiker. The search resumed on Sunday morning with three ground crews and two fixed-winged aircraft and a helicopter. Air support is being provided by Katmai National Park, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alaska State Troopers. The Lethe River drains out of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, which is a large ash-filled area resulting from the 1912 eruption of Novarupta Volcano. The river has frequently swift water, limited numbers of fords for hikers, and many areas with steep banks cut through the ash layers. The trailhead to the area is reached by a 23-mile road from Brooks Camp, the park’s main developed area.



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