UPDATE: Missing hiker found dead near Savage River Loop Trail

 National Park Service photo.
National Park Service photo. (KTUU)
Published: May. 2, 2016 at 7:56 AM AKDT
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Michael Purdy has been found dead near the north end of the Savage River Loop Trail, the National Park Service announced Sunday afternoon.

“Clues indicate that Purdy had diverted from the riverside trail to do some scrambling on higher terrain when he fell and suffered from a fatal head injury,” NPS wrote.

Purdy’s remains were found by a ground search team Sunday. Investigators believe the fatal accident occurred on Tuesday, April 26.

The body will be recovered by the park helicopter and taken to the State Medical Examiner, NPS said.


Search crews are working to find an overdue hiker in Denali National Park who was reported missing on Saturday, according to the National Park Service.

The hiker, identified as 24-year-old Michael Purdy from Portland, Oregon, planned to complete a series of day hikes in the park before starting his second season of summer employment with Denali ATV tours in Healy, the Park Service said.

According to Purdy’s employer, Purdy failed to show up for his first day of work on Friday. His employer reported him missing the next day, the National Park Service says.

“Park rangers located Purdy’s vehicle at the Savage East parking lot at Mile 15 of the Park Road,” NPS wrote in a statement Sunday. “Based on sightings by rangers and other staff, the vehicle has potentially been parked at that location since Tuesday, April 26.”

Inside the vehicle, Ranger’s found overnight backpacking gear, food and other supplies.

Rangers began searching for Purdy from the Savage River trailhead on Saturday evening. An aerial search was conducted Sunday morning over the Savage River, Mount Margaret and Healy Ridge. Five ground teams of 15 searchers and one search dog are also looking in the same areas, NPS said.

According to Purdy’s friends and family members, Purdy usually maintains consistent communications when travelling. The last known calls made from Purdy’s cell phone were placed on Tuesday, April 26, NPS says.

“The search vicinity is characterized by steep, brushy terrain with some snowy patches. The Savage River is generally free of ice, though frozen creek crossings on upland slopes are hazardous to backcountry travel,” the Park Service wrote. “Weather has generally been mild and clear over the past week, with minimal precipitation. Daytime temperatures have ranged between 50 F and 55 F, with freezing temperatures overnight.”