UPDATE: August 2, 2007
As of 0600 hours the search continues for the missing boy who is now being identified as Sam Rickenbacker, age 15, of Lynden, WA.
Over night searchers continued to check trails and creek beds for any sign with negative results. This morning the Washington State Patrol has an airplane over the search area that is equipped with FLIR. This is an infra-red heat sensing system that may be able to assist in locating the missing boy.
Again today there will be approximately 30-40 ground search volunteers as well as searchers on horseback. Also assisting in the search today will be volunteers from the Civil Air Patrol who are providing the ability to enhance communications from the air by essentially serving as a satellite over the area. This is helpful due to restricted radio range due to the mountainous terrain.
The Red Cross continues to provide logistic support for the searchers by providing food and beverages.
The search is expected to continue at least through today or until the boy is located.
Will Reichardt Skagit County Sheriff's Office
Nature: Missing Hiker Date: 08-31-07 Case: SCSO 07-11822
On 07-31-07 at approximately 1735 hours the Skagit County Sheriff's Office received a report of a missing hiker that was last seen with his Bellingham YMCA hiking group on Blanchard Mountain in the area commonly referred to as the "Bat Caves."
The missing hiker has been identified as a 15 year old Bellingham boy. He is described as an "inexperienced" hiker and was last seen wearing a T-shirt and shorts. It is believed at this time the boy somehow became separated from his hiking party and is lost somewhere in the rugged, over-grown terrain.
The Skagit County Sheriff's Office deputies along with Search and Rescue volunteers and two search dog teams spent the night on Blanchard Mountain combing the area with negative results. As of 0800 this morning (08-01-07) approximately 30 to 40 other volunteers searchers have joined in the effort. Also volunteers on horseback as well as additional K-9 teams are involved. Deputies are also working to coordinate the use of a helicopter to fly the area.
Blanchard Mountain is located approximately 7 miles north of Burlington near the Whatcom / Skagit County line.
Further information will be released as this incident develops and as appropriate.