A missing hiker in the Pioneer Ridge Trail area was found alive early Wednesday evening.
The Alaska State Troopers were notified at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday by a volunteer search and rescue member departing the search area that Fina Kiefer walked out of the woods as they were driving by on Knik River Road, about a mile from the trailhead. Kiefer has injuries and was to a Mat-Su area hospital for evaluation, according to an update provided by troopers.
Earlier in the day, troopers identified the missing hiker as Kiefer, 55, of Palmer. Troopers received a report at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday that an adult female hiking by herself needed assistance. The woman had contacted her husband asking for help after being charged by multiple bears and discharging bear spray, according to an online dispatch published by AST. Shortly after requesting assistance, troopers said the hiker stopped responding to phone calls and text messages.
Troopers responded to the trailhead and conducted a hasty search of the first section of the trail with no results. The Rescue Coordination Center was contacted to coordinate an aerial search. The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center deployed a rescue team Tuesday morning that flew around the trail and immediate area multiple times throughout the day.
In addition to the aerial search volunteers with the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group and MATSAR searched the area from the ground using K9s, troopers said.
Search efforts continued throughout the day Wednesday, with volunteer search teams from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol, Alaska Solstice Search Dogs, and MATSAR. Partners from the Alaska National Guard provided aerial search assets that assisted ground searchers throughout the day in the area. No evidence of the missing hiker has been discovered. Search efforts ended for the day, about 4 p.m. Wednesday due to deteriorating weather in the area troopers said.
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