Missing backpackers Utah
Missing backpackers Utah

Crews searching for missing backpackers in southern Utah, officials say

Search and rescue crews have found the five missing Colorado college students in San Juan County Monday afternoon.

A helicopter spotted the group and snowmobiles have been sent in to pick up the hikers.

The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office says the five adults were hiking near Elk Ridge. Some family members of the missing hikers called just before 4pm Sunday saying the group was backpacking in the Manti-LaSal National Forest and got lost.

After a snowstorm hit the area Friday and Saturday, the group called family members Sunday morning, indicating that they were trying to get back to their vehicle to drive home, said San Juan County sheriff’s deputy Alan Freestone. When the group failed to return, family members reported the hikers as missing Sunday afternoon. Freestone said he thought the hikers had been out since Thursday.

Crews searched the ground area until dark on Sunday with no success. Their search included the trailhead where hikers told family members their truck was parked, but crews did not find the vehicle there when they searched Sunday evening, Freestone said.

A helicopter spotted the group Monday. Rescuers were using snowmobiles to reach them and transport the group out of the area.

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