JACKSON (WNE) — After six days of intense aerial and ground searching for missing hiker Cian McLaughlin, Grand Teton National Park officials said late Friday they will scale back their efforts.
“The search for McLaughlin will shift tactics to a continuous, but limited mode,” a press release from the park said on Friday evening, the 10th day the 27-year-old had been missing. “New clues will be investigated as they come forward. Park staff will continue to patrol the backcountry and search for signs of McLaughlin’s whereabouts.”
Since McLaughlin was reported missing — four days after he disappeared — the park’s investigation team has spoken with more than 140 people with tips and information about McLaughlin. More than 45 helicopter search missions have been conducted, using RECCO rescue technology and thermal imaging cameras. Up to 70 park staff each day and several dog teams searched the park’s trails, canyons and woods for six days straight.
The last credible sighting of a man fitting McLaughlin’s description was around 3:45 p.m. June 8 near the Surprise Lake junction heading into Garnet Canyon.
Reached late Friday, GTNP spokesman CJ Adams said the park and search-and-rescue teams haven’t given up hope of locating McLaughlin alive, but acknowledged that the likelihood fades the longer a person is missing.
“Each day that passes and with the conditions and such, the likelihood is less and less” that McLaughlin will be found alive, Adams said. “But, you know, there’s always a chance. So the park’s going to do what we can to find him, and we’ll put out missing person flyers at locations and talk to people that are going into the backcountry.”