Desperate search for hikers Neal Peckens, Jason Hiser missing for 48 hours in Glacier National Park
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Rescue teams at Glacier National Park searched in wintery conditions and rugged terrain Sunday for two East Coast hikers reported missing by family members.
Park officials said 50 searchers were looking for 32-year-old Neal Peckens of Leesburg, Virginia and 32-year-old Jason Hiser of Maryland.
Weather was the biggest challenge facing searchers, who have found 18 inches of snow on the trail at higher elevations and five-foot drifts in some areas, spokeswoman Denise Germann said.
'The area they are working in is very steep and exposed,' she said. 'It's right along the Continental Divide, and it's very windy.'
More rain and possibly snow in higher areas was expected on Sunday, she said. A helicopter dropped off some searchers inside the park in Northern Montana early Sunday but Germann said low clouds moved in, preventing aerial searches.
The two were reported missing on Friday after failing to catch a flight home from Montana. Their vehicle was found late Friday, and the search started on Saturday.
Details are scarce about two men but Peckens works at the LifeCentre veterinary emergency practice in Leesburg, Virginia. He specializes in Cardiology.
He is married and lives in Herndon, Virginia with his four cats and dog, according to his biography on the website for the practice.
He is six feet tall and weighs approximately 180 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes, according to a statement from the national park.
Hiser is six feet tall and approximately 200 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. Details on Hiser's hometown and personal life were not known.
It was not known what kind of clothing the men were wearing.
Germann said it's not clear if they were prepared for cold weather, or if they have much experience in the backcountry. Searchers believe the two were hiking and not mountain climbing.
Dangerous conditions: The two hikers are missing in Glacier National Park which straddles the U.S.-Canada border in northern Montana
Search: Rescue workers and trained dogs are now out looking for the hikers
'We believe they are still in the park,' she said. 'We don't know what clothing or gear they've got.'
Officials believe the two started hiking from the North Shore Trailhead at Two Medicine on the east side of the park on Tuesday and planned to return to Two Medicine on Wednesday, and then do some day hikes on Thursday.
She said park rangers along with Flathead County Search and Rescue members were taking part in the search which is taking place on foot and using dogs.
The National Weather Service predicts mostly cloudy skies with a 50 per cent chance of rain on Sunday with highs in the upper 50s to low 60s, dropping to the upper 30s or low 40s overnight. Winds are from the southwest at 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.