Search Underway for 68-year-old Woman in Arches

Search Underway for 68-year-old Woman in Arches

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Search and rescue teams on Friday were looking for a 68-year-old woman who apparently got separated from her party in the rugged Arches National Park in southeastern Utah.

The unidentified woman had been camping with her husband and friends this week in the national park near Moab. They were hiking in the Broken Arch area about 3 p.m. MDT Thursday when she became separated from the others, said Arches National Park spokesman Murray Shoemaker.

Her husband and friends initially searched for the woman before calling in park officials, he said.

Another person in the party had similar type shoes on as the missing woman. They were able to find the shoe print and follow it, but had not yet caught up to the woman.

Grand County search and rescue crews arrived Friday morning to assist park officials in the hunt. They started their search on dirt roads outside the national park, and were working their way inside Arches.

"We're trying to box her in, essentially, and hope she'll walk right into somebody," Shoemaker said.

Two helicopters, a fixed-wing aircraft, and a dog are also involved in the search with about 20 volunteers.

The woman had a fanny pack with her, but Shoemaker said her husband did not know what was inside it. The spouse did say the missing woman was in good health, though.

Storms that moved through the park overnight also could have provided the missing woman water, he said.

"There is some water out there in the pot holes, so hopefully she's utilizing that," Shoemaker said.

Temperatures in the red rock desert area three hours southeast of Salt Lake City also were not oppressive, hitting only about 65 degrees during the noon hour Friday.

"Compared to summertime heat, this is definitely not too bad," Shoemaker said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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