Rescue workers continued looking Friday for 60-year-old Cathleen Currie of Hyder, but might suspend the search soon. Currie was reported missing from her camp on the Salmon River near the Southeast Alaska community of Hyder, which is on the mainland next to the Canada border.
The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad began looking for Currie after she was reported missing on Monday. She reportedly had planned to climb a mountain on the other side of the Salmon River.
KVRS spokesman Chris John said crews have searched all week, finding nothing but some footprints.
That’s all that’s been found in the area, and we really don’t know for sure those are hers, though it’s likely some are,” he said. “But no indication that she actually went into the mountain area. They’re just on the flats and going in different directions, and perhaps even back to the Hyder side.”
John said it’s difficult to say what happened to Currie.
“It’s just a puzzle. When you get to this point, you begin to wonder about what we call the rest of the world, which is out of the search area,” he said.
John said the weather hasn’t cooperated for crews trying to get to and from Hyder. On Friday morning, searchers were held up in Ketchikan for the weather to improve and allow helicopter to take them to the search area.
He said two dog teams and a mountain rescue team have coordinated search efforts, in addition to volunteers from the community.
Also missing in Southeast was 25-year-old Colin Buness of Wrangell. He was overdue as of Monday from a hiking and kayaking trip on the Stikine River and a tributary river near the Canada border.
KSFK reported that Buness is a sergeant in the Army National Guard. Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said this week’s search turned up some of his equipment.
“Searchers located the watercraft that was used by Colin,” she said. “It was caught up in a logjam. There was also some gear that was located. Ground and air searches are continuing as there is a chance that he self-rescued and he’s trying to hike his way out. We’re also using water rescues. We’re searching for every possibility.”
The kayak and gear were discovered on the Kikahe River, a tributary to the Stikine.
Troopers said Buness is an experienced hiker and kayaker and is equipped with a SPOT locator device. He last checked in at 8 a.m. June 22. Sitka and Wrangell search and rescue team members along with the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard and Juneau’s SEADOGS are involved in that search.