2 of 4 Missing Hikers on Pacific Crest Trail in Washington Rescued

Wednesday, 02 Oct 2013 01:42 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Two of four hikers lost in remote parts of southwest Washington were rescued Tuesday by a Coast Guard helicopter, a sheriff's officer told The Associated Press.

Matt Margiotta and Kyla Arnold phoned for help Monday when waist-deep snow blocked their path on the Pacific Crest Trail, and stacked snow forced ground workers to abandon a search earlier in the day. The two had walked all the way from Mexico along the 2,650-mile trail, but ran into early season snowfall as they headed toward the Canadian border.

They called for help Monday. Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox announced the helicopter rescue Tuesday night. Cox said in a statement reported by ABC News that the hikers were being transported to Portland, Ore., and didn't need medical aid.

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Authorities were expected to continue searching Wednesday for the other two hikers, Alejandra Wilson and Kristopher Zitzewitz, who are missing in separate areas.

Cox said Margiotta and Arnold were wise to call for help. Ground search crews received their GPS location Tuesday, but the snowy conditions forced them to turn back less than a mile away. A helicopter took advantage of a break in the weather to reach them Tuesday.

One of the other missing Pacific Crest Trail hikers, Alejandra Wilson, failed to contact her father as the two had planned. Authorities believe she was about 20 miles farther north of Margiotta and Arnold. Her father, Dane Wilson, told searchers that he last heard from his daughter Friday as she was leaving Trout Lake, Cox told the AP.

The final hiker, Kristopher Zitzewitz, 31, of Portland, was separated from his partner in the Big Lava Beds area of Gifford Pinchot National Forest on Saturday. More than three dozen rescuers are searching for him.

A record number of people are embarking on the complete trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. This year, more than a thousand backpackers applied for permits, though only an estimated 50 percent are expected to finish by the time the season ends this month, according to National Public Radio.

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Thousands of people hiking each year, though at times some of them lose their way. In April, people in southern California were thrilled after two teenagers were rescued in the Santa Ana Mountains, according to CNN.

Related stories:


'We Weren't Meant to Die' Hikers Story Has Happy Ending

Naked Spiritual Quest: Maureen Kelly, 19, Missing in Washington Forest

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