Search on for missing hunters in Flat Tops | AspenTimes.com

Search on for missing hunters in Flat Tops

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Search and rescue personnel combed a remote section of northeastern Garfield County for a second day Tuesday looking for three lost hunters who had been missing since Saturday.

According to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, a group of five hunters from Denver set out into the Flat Tops Wilderness Area early the morning of Oct. 23 to hunt big game.

All five hunters left their camp on foot, but three did not return that evening. The two hunters who did return to camp searched all day Sunday and notified law enforcement of the missing parties that evening.

Due to the time of day and inclement weather moving into the area, officials could not begin the search until first thing Monday.

At that time, 23 searchers, eight from Garfield County Search and Rescue and 15 Mesa County Search and Rescue personnel, gathered at the White Owl Cabin, located approximately 30 miles up Coffee Pot Road.

The team conducted overland searches on foot as well as by using four-wheelers and snowmobiles. At about 5:30 p.m. the search was suspended due to heavy snow and high winds, according to sheriff’s officials.

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Searchers remained in the area overnight and resumed the search Tuesday morning with 22 personnel from Garfield and Mesa counties, plus two from Vail Mountain Rescue/Eagle County, mainly using snowmobiles.

The weather forecast called for clearing skies overnight and colder temperatures but sunny skies throughout the day Wednesday.

“There may be a language barrier with the lost hunters,” according to the sheriff’s office press release. “Searchers are asking that if anyone may have or does come in contact with missing hunters to notify authorities immediately by calling 911.”

Also involved in the search were the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management and Victim Response Team and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Officials also issued a reminder to those going into the back country to be prepared for winter conditions, and to have proper gear such as a GPS, warm clothing, fire starter and adequate food and water. Persons should also let someone know where they are going and when to expect their return.

jstroud@postindependent.com

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