SEATTLE (TIP): A search is underway for Sam Dubal, an Indian American professor at University of Washington, Seattle, who has gone missing for more than ten days during a hike at Mount Rainier.
Dubal, 33, was last known to be hiking the Mother Mountain Loop out of the Mowich Lake Trailhead, departing on Friday, Oct. 9 and due out on Saturday, Oct. 10, Mount Rainier NPS said in a tweet.
Dubal was reported missing mid-day Oct. 12. Rangers at the National Park sent several teams out that afternoon, two of which continued searching overnight, in coordination with the Washington State Emergency Operations Center, the National Park Service (NPS) said in a media release.
In addition, an Air Force helicopter with Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR), from the 36th Rescue Squadron out of Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, spent 2½ hours Oct. 12 night searching by air, under the direction of the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.
The search continued on the ground on Oct. 13, despite heavy rain in the search area, with six search teams including 19 National Park Service rangers and six Mountain Rescue Association volunteers from the Olympic, Everett, and Central Washington units.
The Park has set up a tip line at (360) 569-6684 for anyone who was hiking in the Mowich Lake area over the past few days and may have seen Dubal.
He is 5 foot 9 inches tall, 155 pounds, with black hair and a short black beard, and may have been wearing a blue jacket, NPS said.
Rangers are coordinating the search with state and local resources, who are providing highly skilled rescuers trained to search in hazardous conditions, NPS said.
Dubal had joined the University of Washington’s Department of Anthropology as an assistant professor last June.
According to a series of tweets by his sister, UC Hastings law professor Veena Dubal, Sam Dubal was scheduled to return home the following day. Mount Rainier National Park rangers have found his car, according to Veena Dubal.
“My brother is missing. He went camping overnight on Friday night in Ipsuit Creek and Seattle Park in Washington State. He was supposed to be back on Sat. Rangers found his car and are looking for him. If anyone is hiking or camping in the area pls be on the lookout,” Veena Dubal wrote.
Several members of Dubal’s family and the University of Washington Anthropology Department have tweeted about the disappearance of Dubal. Members of the department and his friends have expressed wishes that he returns home safely soon.
“We remain optimistic until we have reason to know otherwise. We’ve seen people come out just fine in situations far worse than this,” Ranger Kevin Bacher with the NPS was quoted as saying in a local media report.
“We know that he had a backcountry permit to spend at Carbon River Camp and we know that he was planning to do the Mother Mountain loop, yes.”
Bacher said weather came in severely into the area on Monday night, which could have flooded trails and log bridges.