No sign of Missing Backpackers - Air and Ground Search to Resume on Tuesday
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
Additional search teams on the ground, including two dog teams, and continued aerial searching with three aircraft failed to yield any sign of missing backpackers Abby Flantz and Erica Nelson during today’s search efforts. The day’s operations ended at 7:00 p.m. in order for crews and pilots to get adequate rest before the resumption of the search effort on Tuesday. Over twenty members of the ground search teams are camping overnight near the Lower Savage ranger cabin, an historic ranger patrol cabin located on the northern boundary of the park, approximately four miles downstream from the Denali Park Road. A total of 51 people were involved in today’s operations.
Tomorrow’s search efforts will include additional ground search teams. They include members of Matanuska Search and Rescue from Wasilla, Alaska Mountain Rescue Group from Anchorage, and a team of whitewater river experts from the Denali Outdoor Center in Healy. The air search will continue with three helicopters and the park’s fixed-wing aircraft. The helicopters are being provided by Air Logistics from Fairbanks, Maritime Helicopters, inc. of Homer, as well as Helo One from the Alaska State Troopers. The high-altitude Lama helicopter is on a mandatory one day rest period.
The search area of approximately 100 square miles will remain the same for Tuesday’s activities. Teams are being tasked with investigating search segments to the highest degree possible, which is difficult, slow work due to the rugged and heavily vegetated terrain.
The National Park Service search managers would like to speak with anyone who was hiking in the Savage River drainage between Thursday, June 12 and Sunday, June 15. Anyone who may have information to share is asked to call (907) 683-9648.
Did You Know?
The vast landscapes of interior Alaska are changing. Large glaciers are receding, permafrost is melting and woody plants are spreading. Comparison of "then-and-now" photographs and data from major vegetation monitoring should allow detection, understanding and potential management of these changes.