The body of one of three hikers missing at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state was found on Monday night, officials said.
Matthew Bunker, 28, was found along the base of Liberty Ridge, the National Park Service said in a news release. Bunker had been skiing behind his partner at approximately 10,400 feet elevation. "Unknown events caused his fall in steep, treacherous terrain," according to a statement provided by National Park Service spokesperson Patti Wold.
“We extend our deepest condolences to Matthew’s loved ones and friends” Tracy Swartout, the park's deputy superintendent, said in a statement. “It brings us a great degree of sorrow to be unable to bring him home to his family.”
Bunker graduated from the U.S. Military Academy West Point in 2013, and served five years in the military, according to officials.
Bunker and two other hikers had gone missing separately at Mount Rainier, according to the park service.
A fellow climber on Liberty Ridge on the park's north side had reported Bunker, of Seattle, missing at 3 p.m. June 26. He was skiing ahead of his partner near a spot where six climbers died in 2014.
"It is very steep, terminates in cliffs, and is known for frequent avalanches and active rockfall," according to a news release from National Park Service.
Two other hikers have also gone missing at the park: 25-year-old Vincent Djie in the Longmire area and 27-year-old Talal Sabbagh at Paradise.
Thursday marked the third day of searching for Dije (and he was last seen on June 19). The National Park Service won't issue any updates until he is found and encourage people to call 360-569-6683 with information about his location. Ground and aerial searches are ongoing. He was wearing black pants and a blue and white tie-dye shirt and carrying a small drawstring-type bag.
Friday was the fifth day of search operations for Sabbagh, and similar to Dije, the Park Service won't release updates until "significant information" is found. He was last seen on June 21, hiking in Paradise, wearing a light blue shirt under a black jacket, black shorts and dark Nike shoes. His vehicle was found in the parking lot there.
The Park Service is also not asking for public assistance in any of the searches. Dangerous late spring conditions could put people at risk, and if streams remain snow-covered, snow bridges may prove hazardous and could lead to new incidents, according to the latest update regarding Sabbagh. Hikers should practice precautions.
Don't take unnecessary hiking risks
Hiking may prove particularly difficult amid the coronavirus pandemic, given limited resources.
“Our emergency responders are limited right now,” says Michelle Thompson, spokesperson for Arizona State Parks and Trails. “They’re busy working on a lot of other situations. We don’t want to have people putting themselves at risk on a trail and using those resources.”
The Washington Trails Association says hikers should not venture to spaces that might pose hazards that could lead to a fall or injury, necessitating a rescue.
Hikers should take shorter hikes close to home instead of embarking on long-distance treks.
“If you have not yet started your trip, stay home or consider hiking shorter segments along the trail where you can be fully self-sufficient without relying on others to help you with transportation, food and other services," Arizona Trail Association executive director Matt Nelson wrote in a blog post.
Contributing: Nicquel Terry Ellis and Weldon B. Johnson
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Missing hiker's body found at Washington's Mount Rainier National Park