Helicopter goes down while searching for missing Mountain View hiker
SONORA, Calif. (AP) – A military helicopter aiding in the ongoing search for a Mountain View man thought to be missing in Stanislaus National Forest has gone down near Granite Dome in the Emigrant Wilderness, according to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department.
The chopper issued a May Day call at 12:46 p.m. Sunday and was confirmed down just after 1 p.m. The five crew members on board were transported to hospitals in the Sonora, Calif., area for evaluation. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
The helicopter was involved in search efforts to find Eric Tucker, 28, who was reported missing Tuesday after not returning from his solo hiking trip. He was supposed to return July 1 after setting off June 27.
Tucker made it to the Kennedy Meadows trailhead, where he planned to return after several days in the Sierra Nevadas, according to Nikyra Calcagno, spokeswoman for the National Park Service.
”We’ve actually been calling everyone who has a hiker’s permit and asking them if they’ve seen him,” Calcagno said Sunday
Threats of flash floods hindered efforts Saturday to find Tucker. Lightning and thunderstorms did not, however, stop a 100-person search party from searching for him, according to the Tuolumne County sheriff’s office.
The search team now includes 125 personnel, including air, ground, mounted horse and dog teams, the sheriff’s office said.
Calcagno said Tucker should have access to water since there are several lakes in the area. He also reportedly had a green and tan Sierra Designs tent and a backpack.
Sheriff’s Department and Park Service officials could not be reached for further comment on the helicopter crash Sunday afternoon.
On the Net:
Photo of Eric Tucker: http://www.bayarea.net/gregsn/eric/eric.jpg
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