Rescuers Search for 3 Hikers Who Went Missing in Mount Rainier National Park on Separate Trips
Vincent Djie, Talal Sabbagh and Matthew Bunker have all gone missing from the area within the last 10 days
Rescuers at Mount Rainier National Park are searching for three hikers who all went missing at different points over the last 10 days.
The National Park Service said searches are underway for Vincent Djie, 25, Talal Sabbagh, 27, and Matthew Bunker, all of whom vanished while either hiking or skiing at the national park, which sits about 60 miles southwest of Seattle.
Djie, an Indonesian student who has been living in Seattle, was last seen on June 19 while hiking the Van Trump Trail in black pants and a blue-and-white tie-dye t-shirt.
He was reported missing after he failed to return home, and park rangers and volunteers from the Tacoma Mountain rescue have conducted ground and aerial searches for him, as well as used Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR) to detect any heat being emitted in the area, according to the NPS.
Thirty-one people set out on a search for Djie on Thursday, and in a Facebook post, his sister Natasha thanked the searchers and Djie’s friends for their “overwhelming love and support.”
Meanwhile, as the search continued for Djie, Sabbagh, who lives in Seattle, was also reported missing the day after he intended to hike at Paradise on June 21.
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His vehicle was found in the parking lot at Paradise, though a “hasty” search shortly after found no sign of him, the NPS said.
Thirty-three people joined the hunt for Sabbagh, who was last seen in a gray shirt, black shorts, and dark Nike shoes, though Mount Rainier National Park said it was not requesting assistance from the public.
“Dangerous late spring conditions, including widespread unstable snow bridges putting independent searchers at risk and potentially creating new incidents, in addition to possibly obscuring important clues to Sabbagh’s whereabouts,” the park said.
Then, on Friday, Bunker — who lives in Seattle — was reported missing by a member of his climbing party on Liberty Ridge, which is on the north side of Mount Rainier.
Bunker was skiing ahead of his partner near Thumb Rock, which is about 10,400 feet high, and is “believed to have fallen in the steep terrain” as they descended from the upper mountain on skis, the NPS said.
The park service said it was unable to find Bunker in a helicopter search, and that the aircraft was unable to get close to the terrain because of “severe down slope winds.” A second flight later that evening was also unable to find him.
The NPS said that the area below where Bunker went missing is close to where six climbers died in 2014.
“It is very steep, terminates in cliffs, and is known for frequent avalanches and rockfall,” the service said.