Missing hiker found in Rocky Mountain National Park
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK ” A hiker missing since Sunday in the rugged Mummy Range was found Wednesday, suffering from dehydration but mostly tired and hungry.
Hillel Ben-Avi of Austin, Texas, was admitted overnight at a hospital in nearby Estes Park for observation, according to a statement from Rocky Mountain National Park.
“This is the happiest day of my life, and I am extremely grateful to the entire search and rescue team,” the hiker’s brother Doran Ben-Avi said in the statement.
Ben-Avi, 45, was spotted in the Hague Creek drainage area of the Mummy Range waving a makeshift flag at a helicopter. He was flown out, transferred to an ambulance and taken to the hospital.
Ben-Avi, a radiologist, had last been seen near the summit of 13,502-foot Fairchild Mountain about 60 miles northwest of Denver in the northern part of the park. He was found northwest of the summit.
He was hiking ahead of his brother, who last saw him near the summit. When his brother reached the top, Ben-Avi was not there, said Kyle Patterson, spokeswoman for the park.
Patterson said Ben-Avi called park rangers twice from a cell phone Sunday to say he was lost. Rangers told him to return to a lake he had passed and wait for searchers, but they did not know whether he did so.
Patterson said the reception was poor on both calls and that the batteries on Ben-Avi’s phone may have been drained.
About 100 people from the National Park Service, three search-and-rescue teams and two search-dog teams searched for Ben-Avi Wednesday. Nearly two dozen searchers had camped overnight Tuesday at Lawn Lake below Fairchild Mountain, and one dog team searched through the night.
It was the second time in a month that someone has disappeared in the Mummy Range. Park Ranger Jeff Christensen died on July 29 from head injures he suffered in a fall while patrolling the area alone.
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