By The Associated Press
YAKIMA — A 23-year-old woman reported missing while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in southwest Washington has been found safe, but a search for an Oregon man has been suspended.
Alejandra Wilson was located yesterday afternoon, authorities said. She was cold and tired but otherwise OK.
A search team spotted the Oregon woman walking in the Crest trail area as she started hiking out. She was reported missing after becoming overdue for a trail check Sept. 30.
Sgt. George Town of the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said Wilson reported that she got stranded by a snow storm about a week ago and waited until conditions improved before walking out.
“She said the snow was almost waist deep and she was pretty well stuck. She wasn’t lost, she was just stuck,” Town said in an interview today.
Wilson told authorities she hunkered down and set up camp under some trees to wait out the storm, he said. From there, she said she spotted the Coast Guard helicopters that went up in search of her. The helicopters flew overhead but she wasn’t able to flag them down in time, Town said.
“The Coast Guard guys were right on track. They did a good job. She wasn’t able to make herself visible,” but their presence “gave her real confidence,” Town said.
He noted that she still had food when she was located yesterday. She was reunited with her dad, grandparents and friends.
Some of the volunteer searchers included hiking companions who had been on the trail with her earlier in her trip, Town said today.
Meanwhile, the search was suspended for Kristopher Zitzewitz, 31, of Portland, who was last seen Sept. 28 in the Big Lava Beds area of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox said more than 100 people searched yesterday. Further searching was suspended pending new information about his whereabouts.