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Contact: Kathleen Kelly, (907) 683-9504
Denali National Park and Preserve staff and volunteers are currently searching for an overdue hiker in the Teklanika area of the park, east of Teklanika Campground.
Mukunda Egen, a 42 year-old man from California, and seasonally employed in the area, was last seen at about 11 p.m. Friday.
He is described as 6’1”, 170 pounds, brown hair, short beard, and was wearing an orange jacket and a green and grey hat. He is a novice backpacker and is known to have only a small amount of food and water in a daypack.
Egen and a friend were camping at Teklanika Campground and started a day hike from the campground on Friday afternoon. The pair separated at about 11 pm when Egan, who had earlier complained of knee pain, chose a less steep route than his hiking companion. Soon after, the pair lost sight of each other in the fog.
Egen’s companion tried to retrace their route looking for Egen before reaching the campground at 4 am Saturday. She then contacted park rangers.
Weather and terrain are factors in the search efforts. Rain and fog are predicted throughout the day and the search area is thick with high-brush willows.
Approximately 40 people are involved in the search including five teams of three hikers each, two helicopters and two search and rescue dog teams from Fairbanks.
Egen, according to his companion, was not prepared for an overnight hike nor did he have rain gear or extra food and water.