UPDATE: Missing hunters spotted by helicopter

UPDATE: 10:18 a.m. Wednesday — Missing hunters spotted by helicopter

Garfield County officials report that the three hunters missing in the Flat Tops Wilderness have been spotted by a National Guard helicopter this morning.

“The focus now turns to the safe extraction of the hunters and the rescuers at this time.” a spokesperson said in a news release.

Sheriff Lou Vallario is quoted as saying: “This three-day mission to find three stranded hunters in dangerous conditions shows the cooperation and determination of our volunteer rescue professionals and first responders.”

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Heavy snowfall has challenged search and rescue teams seeking to locate three hunters from the Denver area in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

A National Guard helicopter helped as crews on the ground looked for the hunters on Tuesday, the second day of the search, according to the Associated Press.

Five hunters from Denver left their camp on Saturday morning, but three did not return that evening, according to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department.

The two hunters who returned to camp searched all day Sunday for the three missing hunters without luck. The hunters notified officials Sunday night about those missing from their hunting party.

Heavy snowfall kept search teams from beginning their search until early Monday morning.

Twenty-two searchers from Garfield County, Vail Mountain Rescue and Eagle County and Mesa County staged up the Coffee Pot Road and were mainly using snowmobiles Tuesday in an attempt to locate the lost hunters.

The search was suspended for the day at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Department had no further information on the search status as of Tuesday evening.

Authorities said there may be a language barrier between officials and the lost hunters.

Anyone who comes into contact with the hunters or has any other information on the case should call 911.


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