Friday, November 16, 2012

Chile: Despite Search Efforts for Three Missing European Hikers, the News is Not Encouraging

As a follow-up to my postings of today (November 16) as well as on November 11 and 12, an exhaustive national search which began on November 8, has provided no leads whatsoever as to the condition and whereabouts of three European hikers who disappeared while on a day hike in the vicinity of Villarica volcano situated in southern Chile.

Unfortunately, despite the use of helicopters equipped with thermal imaging cameras that can see through heavy snow and cloud cover (one of which has been funded by the parents of one of the hikers), university volunteers are now helping park rangers, police and army search teams in the search for Dmitry Sivenkov of Russia, Gillhem Bellon of France and Luca Ogliengo of Italy.

COMMENT: No word has been heard from any of the three men since November 7, when one of them called his girlfriend, who lives in the nearby community of Pucón.
As mentioned in earlier postings, it is regretful that more hikers do not carry personal locator beacons (PLB), which have saved the lives of as many as 15,000 in recent years.  At US$200-400, these devices are definitely worth a saved life before it is too late. 

Other grim news is that the men were not equipped for overnight hiking, particularly considering that temperatures have plunged in the area where the men were hiking. Also, heavy snow has blanketed the area which renders it even more of a challenge for rescuers.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to the three hikers and their families as the likelihood of a successful rescue, at this point, is beginning to look unlikely. A miracle is sadly overdue. 
This posting will be updated as new information becomes available.