PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Search for missing hiker suspended due to weather

By November 24, 2010

Tahoe Daily Tribune

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Regional emergency crews, including Search and Rescue personnel from El Dorado County, have temporarily suspended a search for a missing hiker due to concerns over visibility and avalanche potential, officials said Tuesday.

“As soon as conditions permit, we will resume the search,” said Washoe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Armando Avina in a 5 p.m. phone interview.

Should conditions get better, Avina confirmed rescue workers will search through the night to find Rick Gentry — described as 6 foot, 2 inches tall and 172 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes — who has been missing since Sunday after going hiking in the Galena Creek Park area of Washoe County.

“We have skilled resources,” Avina said. “We sent a crew up there (Monday) night after 10 p.m. The problem is the amount of snow we received, and it’s blowing all over the place. It’s pretty near white-out conditions.”

A low temperature Tuesday night of 3 degrees was forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for Incline Village, and 8 degrees in Reno.

The search party is concentrating on a “high probability area” where they expect to find Gentry, Avina said on Tuesday morning.

On Monday evening, at approximately 7 p.m., rescue workers located a snowshoe, a fanny pack and a black glove believed to have belonged to Gentry, Avina said; the discarded equipment is a symptom that Gentry may be suffering from hypothermia.

Gentry was last seen Sunday afternoon in a red windbreaker and blue jeans, Avina said.

“Our information indicates he is a skilled hiker,” Avina said.

Gentry phoned law enforcement around 5 p.m. Sunday, Avina said, saying he was lost and not dressed for the extreme cold. A WCSO-led search Sunday night and all day Monday was unsuccessful.

Galena Creek Park is located off Highway 431, about halfway between Incline Village and Reno.

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