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Rescuers unable to reach 'extreme hiker' on glacier

James Halpin

Severe weather on Monday prevented the rescue of a weakened "extreme hiker" stranded in Tongass National Forest without food, forcing him to spend another night on a glacier, according to the Coast Guard.

Rescuers planned to reevaluate the prospects of rescuing the hiker today.

The lone man -- identified by Alaska State Troopers as Kyle Dungan, 28, of Skagway -- reported by radio on Sunday that he was tired, weak and had not eaten for four days, according to the Coast Guard. Officials say they believe he is equipped to last another night on Meade Glacier, which descends out of the Chilkoot Mountains toward Haines.

"As of right now, he's just kind of out there waiting," Petty Officer 3rd Class Charly Hengen said Monday evening. "I hope he understands that we are trying to help him and somebody is trying to get out to him."

Dungan was dropped off on Meade Glacier on Feb. 20 for a two-week expedition scheduled to end Sunday, according to the Coast Guard. A ski plane that arrived to extract him from the glacier couldn't find him at the extraction point, but after taking off spotted him about seven miles away at an altitude of 4,300 feet, Hengen said.

The aircraft was unable to land because of rough terrain, but its crew dropped Dungan a hand-held radio over which he related his predicament, she said.

Troopers called the Coast Guard about 10:35 a.m. Monday reporting that Dungan was stranded and a heli-ski company couldn't reach him because of the weather, Hengen said.

The agency sent an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Sitka but could not rescue him because of high winds and blowing snow, she said.

Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call him at 257-4589.


By JAMES HALPIN
jhalpin@adn.com