US park rangers found the body of one of three hikers who went missing separately in the past 10 days in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state on Monday, authorities said.
The body of Matthew Bunker, 28, of Seattle, who went missing on Friday, was found Monday along the Liberty Ridge base, where he had been walking with a group, the Park Service said Monday night. Nationals. He had been skiing behind a partner about 10,400 above sea level when, on his return, “unknown events” caused Mr. Bunker to fall on “rugged and treacherous terrain,” said Patti Wold, a Park Service spokeswoman. .
The terrain is prone to rock falls and avalanches, including one that killed six climbers in 2014.
The search for Mr. Bunker and the other hikers has been hampered by bad weather. But on Monday, clear skies allowed another search for helicopters.
“We extend our deepest condolences to Matthew’s loved ones and friends,” Tracy Swartout, deputy superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park, said in a statement. “It brings us great pain not to be able to take her home with her family.” Mr. Bunker graduated from West Point in 2013 and served five years in the military.
The Park Service said the search for the other two hikers: Vincent Dije, 25, who disappeared on June 19, and Talal Sabbagh, 17, who disappeared on June 22. I was continuing.
Missing hikers are not uncommon on Mount Rainier at this time of year, authorities said, because many climbers are surprised by the changing conditions as they climb the mountain.
“It feels like summer, but at high altitudes we have a lot of snow,” said Terry Wildy, spokesman for the National Park Service in Mount Rainier. “For people who hike, it may not be obvious where the trails are or what’s under the snow.”
Mount Rainier, an active volcano that at its peak is over 14,000 feet above sea level, was among the national parks that were temporarily off-limits during the coronavirus pandemic. Hiking was banned from March 24 to June 5. The visitor center and other buildings remain closed.
I said, an Indonesian student living in Seattle, and Sabbagh, from Seattle, were last seen in the area of the park known as Paradise. It is in the southern part of the mountain and where most visitors will drive down the trail.
I said I was walking the Van Trump trail, at least 5,000 feet above sea level, towards Mildred Point in Longmire, authorities said. His car was found in the park.
The National Park Service said it was working closely with the Indonesian Consulate in San Francisco and with Dije’s relatives.
Mr. Sabbagh’s car was found parked in Paradise, authorities said.
Kathryn Van Waes, executive director of the American Hiking Society, said in an interview Monday that hiking “is generally safe during this pandemic.”
“It’s a very good idea to go out, but we recommend that people stay fairly close to home,” he said.
Van Waes suggested that hikers try not to hike hard at this time.
“The medical system is already under a lot of stress,” he said. “Stay ahead of the country and walk pretty easy where you’re less likely to get lost.”