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Prof Still Missing in Mt. Rainier 18 Days After Hike

Sam Dubal planned to leave Mt. Rainier National Park on Oct. 10
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2020 8:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – Rescuers have resumed searching for a University of Washington anthropology professor more than two weeks after he was last seen in Mount Rainier National Park. Sam Dubal, 33, was spotted Oct. 9 as he hiked the Mother Mountain Loop from Mowich Lake Trailhead, per ABC News. He failed to emerge on Oct. 10 as planned—the park notes a storm "washed out the rustic river crossing he would have used to cross the Carbon River" that day—and was reported missing by his family. Ground searches were suspended Friday with the arrival of winter storms. Though searches resumed Sunday, officials warn that "several recent winter storms have blanketed much of the area in snow and temperatures have been in the high 20s to low 30s." Dubal—5'9" and 155 pounds, with black hair and a short black beard—is said to have rain and snow gear with him, per CNN.

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Dubal's family pressed park officials to continue searching over the weekend despite the weather. More than 47,000 people signed a petition launched Oct. 22, requesting a 72-hour extension. "There is a very high chance that Sam is alive. He is still in a window of survivability, even with hunger and hypothermia, which many medical experts estimate between 2–3 weeks with the type of gear he was carrying," the petition reads, adding Dubal is a "skilled hiker with tremendous experience including in the Himalayas." Chip Jenkins, the park's superintendent, says "searchers have spent long hours scouring the area and not locating Dr. Dubal is heavy on our hearts." He is the fourth person reported missing in the park since June. Two bodies were found. But 25-year-old Vincent Djie, a Seattle resident who failed to return from a hike on June 19, remains missing. (Read more Mt. Rainier stories.)

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