Rescue crews and family members of 22-year-old Justin Nathan continued searching for him on Sunday, the fifth day that he has been missing on Deer Mountain, but found no clues.
Nathan and a friend hiked to the top of the mountain on Wednesday, but Nathan wasn’t able to come back down. His friend left him at the second overlook with some extra clothing, and hiked out to get help.
But, Nathan wasn’t at the second overlook when a Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad team hiked up to find him. Volunteers did find footprints in the snow leading off the trail, and teams have been searching in that area daily since Wednesday evening.
Jerry Kiffer with KVRS says rescue teams from the non-profit organization did not hike up the trail on Sunday. It was relatively clear, so they instead used a donated helicopter to conduct an aerial search. However, Kiffer says, some members of Nathan’s family did hike up.
“The family was up on the mountain today, and we supported their operations with radio equipment and beacons. They have just returned and they indicate as well they found no signs.”
Weather conditions have made searching hazardous, especially on the steep mountainside. Until Sunday, precipitation was almost constant, sometimes accompanied by high winds.
Kiffer says the goal remains finding Nathan alive.
“Every morning, that’s what we go out with the intention. At some point, it becomes necessary to stop searching, based on the data that we’ve gathered over accumulated days, but honestly, we’re looking for a viable victim up until that point.”
Kiffer says the KVRS planning team would talk Sunday evening about the information gathered so far, and decide whether to continue searching for Justin Nathan.
UPDATE: The search for Justin Nathan has been suspended.