The search for Justin Nathan has been suspended after five days with no sign of the 22-year-old, missing on Ketchikan’s Deer Mountain after a hike last Wednesday.
Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad was in charge of the search efforts, and during a meeting Sunday with members of Nathan’s family, KVRS decided to call off the rescue.
Jerry Kiffer of KVRS says some members of Nathan’s family might continue looking. If they do go up the mountain, he says, KVRS will provide radios and beacons.
Poor weather combined with treacherous terrain made searching difficult, and the snow level on the mountain has increased steadily since Wednesday.
Kiffer says it’s unlikely that the rescue squad will send teams in later to search for remains. But, he says, they will keep an eye on the mountain for any signs, such as bird activity.
KVRS doesn’t suspend searches lightly or often. Kiffer says this is perhaps the third or fourth time the non-profit rescue organization has called off a search in the past three decades.
He reminds everyone headed out for a hike that KVRS provides free locator beacons, which can be turned on if a hiker becomes lost or injured.