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Search for missing hunter to resume today

SILT, Colorado – Search and rescue workers halted their search at nightfall Wednesday for a hunter who went missing in remote eastern Mesa County a few miles south of the Garfield County line late Tuesday night. The search was to resume this morning.

Mesa County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Heather Benjamin identified the missing hunter as Jim McCarthy, believed to be a resident of Garfield County. However, information was still preliminary and had not been verified, she said.

McCarthy is believed to be between 35 and 40 years old, based on information provided to rescue workers.



He was one of two hunters reported missing around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Mosquito Lake area along West Divide Creek/79 Road about 16 miles south of Silt, and about 3 1/2 miles south of the Garfield County line.

Parties from a neighboring hunting camp reported that the hunters had not returned. One of men, 65-year-old Jose Rodriguez, was found later that night as sheriff’s deputies and 11 Mesa County Search and Rescue Control members searched the area.



“Rodriguez was not medically treated but was exhausted when he was found,” Benjamin said.

It was still unknown Wednesday when Rodriguez last saw his hunting partner.

Volunteers from Garfield and Mesa counties joined the search Wednesday morning, but heavy snow and rugged terrain hampered the search efforts, Benjamin said.

A helicopter from the Army National Guard’s High Altitude Training Facility in Gypsum was requested, but was not able to respond due to the weather, she said.

“Rescuers are hopeful for better weather conditions [Thursday] that will allow them to fly, if McCarthy is not located overnight,” Benjamin said.

One rescuer was to remain in the area overnight to monitor the roads and use noise, lights and sirens to try to contact the missing hunter. A full search was scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. today.

“It was still snowing pretty hard Wednesday limiting visibility, and the temperature was expected to be below freezing overnight,” she said. “Hopefully he is uninjured and able to hunker down somewhere.”

Benjamin said there are also numerous backcountry cabins in the area where McCarthy might be able to find shelter.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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