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Eight people missing in Interior backcountry found safe

Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Eight people reported missing during bad weather in Interior Alaska backcountry have been found -- all with happy endings, rescuers said Wednesday.

The people who got lost involved five separate parties and included hikers, hunters, horseback-riders, a pilot and a canoer, Alaska State Troopers said. Four of the missing were found Wednesday, and the other four were found Tuesday.

North Pole resident MoAnn Bradshaw, 19, and her 24-year-old boyfriend, Pat Clarke, were found with their horses near Beaver Creek early Wednesday afternoon. The couple went out last Thursday to go sheephunting by horseback, Bradshaw's mother, Ann Bradshaw, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Trooper Lt. Steve Dunnagan said the pair was reported overdue on Sunday night. As it turned out, they had been held back by flooding at Beaver Creek and had planned to ride out as the weather improved but were delayed when one of their horses went lame.

Rapid weather changes also hampered Jamie and David Byrd, Fairbanks brothers who left their truck at 80 Mile Steese Highway last Friday to go hunting. A helicopter surveyed the area Tuesday, but weather continued to worsen in the severe terrain.

On Wednesday, the sun was out by the time the brothers made their way back to their truck. Both were in good condition, Dunnagan said.

On Tuesday troopers located two Fairbanks hikers lost in the Chena River State Recreation Area. Dennis Dooley and Gregory Selid were found by a helicopter well off the Granite Tors Trail after a two-day search, none the worse for two nights spent wandering in the woods.

Rex Maurer, a pilot who crashed his plane in the heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, was evacuated to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital with an injured back. Maurer was the only one of the eight who was injured but he was released Tuesday morning.

The last of the four found Tuesday was Patrick Perry, who walked into a store in Circle. He'd simply gone on a canoe trip to Dawson City, Yukon Territory.

The overdue reports are a common occurrence with the change to autumn and the worsening of weather, rescuers said.

'''Tis the season,'' said Adam Benson, the trooper pilot who plucked Dooley and Selid out of the woods about six air miles from the trail.



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