Inset photo courtesy of the Peckens and Hiser families. Photo of Glacier National Park, Montana, courtesy of Scott Waldenmyer.
Two hikers who went missing while hiking in Glacier National Park in Montana have been located -- and they appear to be "fine," one hiker's wife told News4 Monday evening.
Reached by phone in Montana, Deborah Peckens said the men were scheduled to be helicoptered out of the park Monday night.
Neal Peckens, 32, of Herndon, Va., and Jason Hiser, 32, of Richmond, Va., were reported missing by their families Friday night when they missed their scheduled return flights home.
They were found by searchers Monday at about 3:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, park officials said, noting the men had no injuries and were reunited with waiting relatives.
"Initial information indicates they are well and will be returning to their families! Yeah!'' announced a post on the park's Facebook page. The two had been reported missing by their families Friday after failing to catch a flight home.
Rescue teams located the men after as many as 50 people laboring in wintry conditions scoured back country near Two Medicine, Mont., for days by air, on foot and on horseback, aided by a dog team.
Peckens' wife notified one of his aunts with the happy news, said the aunt's husband, Henry Stiles. The men were capable of walking on their own but were being flown by helicopter to the nearest ranger station, Stiles said.
Hiser and Peckens had taken several hiking trips to other western national parks in the past four years, Hiser's mother, Sandy Hiser, of La Vale, Md., said earlier Monday.
According to their backcountry permit, the men planned to hike Oct. 9-10. The two men were believed to have departed from the North Shore Trailhead at Two Medicine as planned earlier on Oct. 9, but did not return Wednesday as scheduled.
Park rangers located the vehicle used by the men Friday and began a formal search Saturday. According to the park service, six teams of search personnel hiked trails in the area while a simultaneous aerial search was conducted. However, officials say that bad weather had hampered the search effort Saturday and additional personnel were brought in to aid the search Sunday.
National Park Service spokeswoman Denise Germann told the Associated Press that searchers had found up to 18 inches of snow along the trails, with five-foot drifts in some areas.