Search and rescue teams resumed their search for missing hiker Samantha "Sam" Sayers Sunday. She's been missing since Wednesday after going on a solo hike south of Darrington.
The search for a Seattle woman missing since she went on a solo hike in the rugged mountains south of Darrington last week continued on Monday with more than a dozen groups from six counties, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
Samantha “Sam” Sayers has been missing since Wednesday despite a massive search effort that has included dogs, helicopters and dozens of volunteers. Thermal imaging cameras are being used in an air search by King County rescuers on Monday, and were used in a search by Snohomish County over the weekend, according to an emailed statement on Monday from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. A rescue helicopter deployed by the sheriff’s office conducted 33 hours of searching in the past two days, it said.
About 50 search-and-rescue members and three K-9 teams resumed their search at daybreak Sunday, said Snohomish County sheriff’s Lt. Norm Link.
Link said Sunday night the searchers planned to “strategize” on Monday and determine their next step. He described the searchers as exhausted.
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The weather has been cooperative.
However, Kevin Dares, Sayers’ boyfriend, said in a telephone call Sunday that she has not been found. The searchers were working in “very dangerous and rugged terrain,” he said. She was not prepared for anything more than a day hike, he said.
“She didn’t have cold weather gear. She had like three sandwiches, some chips and water. It’s been five days,” he said. He and his siblings and other volunteers have been leaving zip-locked “survival bags” with food, matches and some warm clothing, along portions of the trail.
Sayers, 27, was described as an experienced day hiker who left for a hike on the Vesper Peak trail at 8 a.m. Wednesday. She was expected to head home and check in with her boyfriend that night, but didn’t return. Her car was found parked at the trailhead, 27 miles south of Darrington on the Mountain Loop Highway in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
The trail has been described as hard to follow by some hikers.
There has been an outpouring of support on social media and a Facebook group has been organized to coordinate efforts. Members have volunteered to help gather supplies, spread the word and open their homes to Sayer’s out-of-town relatives and friends.
Link said while people are interested in helping, they should not try to join the search if they are not search-and-rescue certified, as this could distract from efforts to find Sayers.
Dares, the boyfriend, echoed this on social media, asking that those interested in helping donate to a GoFundMe page instead. The page raised more than $13,000 in two days, which was set up to help fund supply packs given to searchers to place in the area. On Facebook, Dares said he hoped to see if funds could be used to hire additional tracking groups.