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Follow-up On Search For Missing Backpacker

Denali National Park and Preserve

National Park News

Approximately 20 people searched the Kantishna Hills area of the park on Wednesday, seeking any sign or clue to the whereabouts of missing backpacker Richard Hasbell, 34, from Anchorage, Alaska. Wednesday's search effort focused on the drainages of Rainy, Dry, and Glen Creeks, which are below Hasbell's abandoned campsite. Ground searching is very labor intensive in that area, as the topography is quite rugged and the alders, willows and other dense vegetation in the lower elevations make walking and viewing difficult. No clues or signs of Hasbell were found by the end of the day. The search groups, comprised of teams of two, were to continue their assignments on Thursday until they had checked the areas closest to Hasbell's campsite to the highest degree possible. Backcountry units in the search area have been temporarily closed in order to facilitate the search effort. Additional resources arrived in the park early Wednesday evening and were being staged for use on Thursday. They included three dog teams (a team is a dog plus its handler) from Alaska Search and Rescue Dogs and personnel from the Mountain Rescue Group. Both of these volunteer rescue organizations are based in Anchorage. Two helicopters and two fixed wing aircraft were also made available for search operations.  Investigators have interviewed campers who were on the bus with Hasbell on July 10th, the same day he received a backcountry permit from the Backcountry Information Center near the park entrance. He was last seen walking down the park road toward Kantishna after being dropped off by the camper bus at the main road's "Y" junction with the side road to the Wonder Lake campground. Flyers with a photo of Hasbell are being posted and distributed around the area, and the National Park Service is asking anyone who may have seen Hasbell or have information about his whereabouts or activities since July 4th to call the park Communication Center at 907-683-2294. Additional agencies and organizations contributing to the search effort include the Alaska State Troopers, park concessioner Doyon/ARAMARK Joint Venture, Denali Princess Hotel, the Rescue Coordination Center, and the Civil Air Patrol. Staff and resources from Western Arctic National Parklands and Kenai Fjords National Park are also being utilized on the search.


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