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Helitack team helps find missing teen PCT hiker

An ODF Southwest Oregon District helitack team helped find a missing teen Pacific Crest Trail hiker on the trail. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office photo.

A team of Southern Oregon searchers have reunited a teen Pacific Crest Trail hiker who had no idea he’d been reported missing.

Elijah Manns, 17, and his father are back on the trail following a missing persons investigation that lasted more than a day and involved searchers on horseback, helicopter and on foot, according to Jackson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Aaron Lewis.

“They actually resumed hiking [Tuesday],” Lewis said.

An Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District helitack crew and Jackson County Search and Rescue personnel found Manns on the trail near Fly Lake Tuesday afternoon, according to Lewis.

Manns spent more than a day as a missing person after failing to meet his father Monday at a rendezvous point in the Fish Lake area off Highway 140 after camping at the Brown Mountain Shelter, according to Lewis and earlier JCSO reports.

“Somehow he passed it by a good amount,” Lewis said. “He was miles away from where he was supposed to be.”

According to Lewis, the teen’s cell reception was poor, and after camping out and waiting around for his father for some time Monday, Manns decided to keep hiking to an area where he could get a signal.

The search for Manns involved 10 Jackson County Search and Rescue volunteers on the, at least four Klamath County Search and Rescue on ground and horseback and the helitack team of five firefighters and a helicopter pilot.