Updated: Air search underway for missing hunter

Missing hunter Neil Durco. Photo courtesy of the Alaska State Troopers.
Missing hunter Neil Durco. Photo courtesy of the Alaska State Troopers.

UPDATED: 1:35 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10

A hunter who was expected to return on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 8, is missing, say Alaska State Troopers. Neil Durco, 33, entered the McKinley Lake Trail area Monday, Oct. 7, and is thought to have been heading for Pyramid Peak, a summit near Saddlebag Glacier.

“It’s pretty urgent, given the weather conditions right now,” Trooper Laura Reid said. “If he really was going up to Pyramid Peak, it’s not easy terrain. He could be injured. We just don’t know.”

Durco’s truck was located at the McKinley Lake trailhead on Wednesday, Oct. 9. His phone is not turned on, Reid said.

Friends are concerned that Durco left without adequate gear for the cold, rainy weather, and with minimal food, said Ken Marsh, information officer for the Alaska State Troopers.

The Alaska State Troopers received word at noon on Thursday, Oct. 10, that aerial vehicles had been mobilized by the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center to assist in searching for Durco. A C-130 plane and a helicopter are expected to arrive in Cordova around 3 p.m.

Troopers and Forest Service employees are conducting ground searches around the McKinley Lake Trail area. However, the Alaska State Troopers have asked volunteer searchers to stand down, as their presence in the field could interfere with aerial search efforts, Marsh said.

Anyone with information concerning Durco is encouraged to contact the Alaska State Troopers at 907-424-3184 or the Cordova Police Department at 907-424-6100.