In an undated photo, veterinarian Jason Hiser works with a patient. Hiser… (Kip Dawkins, Broad Street…)
A weekend search for two hikers missing in Montana's Glacier National Park ended Monday with the pair found alive and well.
Neal Peckens, 32, of Herndon, Va., and Jason Hiser, of Richmond, Va., had been missing more than three days.
The hikers, both veterinarians, had gotten a backcountry permit to hike on a 17-mile loop through the east side of the park over Oct. 9 and 10. Their families reported them missing on Friday when the two missed their flight home.
Officials found their empty vehicle late Friday night and began the search early Saturday morning, but the weather failed to cooperate: On Sunday, 50 searchers encountered low visibility and 18-inch-deep snow on the trails, according to a news release from the National Park Service.
Search crews had found a “recently used fire ring” and tracks possibly used by the hikers. Officials thought that wintry conditions may have forced the two men off the trail.
But on Monday afternoon, an official posted to the park’s Facebook page that the men had been found alive.
“The two missing hikers, Neal Peckens and Jason Hiser, have been located!” the post said. “Initial information indicates they are well and will be returning to their families! Yeah!”
Further details were not immediately available.
Peckers and Hiser were experienced hikers, according to Hiser’s mother, Sandy, who had worried about their safe return before they were found.
“I’m just relying on the strength from my friends and family and doing a lot of praying and hoping that it’s God’s will that these young men will be rescued,” she told the Associated Press.
She also said that Peckens’ wife, Deborah, had gotten to Montana on Sunday while the search was ongoing.
According to the AP, Hiser is an associate veterinarian at the Broad Street Veterinary Hospital in Richmond, Va., and Peckens is a cardiologist with the Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiology Associates.
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