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Missing hikers in Denali found safe

by Sue Deyoe ~ June 24th, 2011

Two missing hikers missing since early Wednesday have been located alive and uninjured near  Denali National Park.

The two seasonal employees at McKinley Chalets Resort, Sybill Senn of South Caroline and Liza Weeks from Washington State, had told friends they intended to hike to the Mt. Healy summit and perhaps continue along the ridge to the Savage River inside the Park.

They were last seen Tuesday evening at the trailhead along the Parks Highway, north of the Denali Park entrance.  They became disoriented when they got above treeline, due to low clouds and rain.

National Park Service was notified Wednesday, at 8:30 in the morning, when the women used a cellphone to call 911.  Search efforts were underway by early afternoon Wednesday.  The 2 women remained at their ridge location for hours and saw aircraft and tried to make themselves visible.   The aerial searchers failed to spot them.  At about 6 pm, the women made their way down the north side of Mt. Healy.  They had hiked about 5 miles through dense vegetation when they were spotted.

35 to 40 people were involved in the search effort, including a ground search,  fixed wing aircraft and two helicopters.  The hikers were spotted and rescued at 2:30 Thursday morning by an Air National Guard Pavehawk helicopter involved in the search.

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