SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Rescue crews are searching for a 10-year-old boy who went missing Sunday morning after he left a remote mountain lake to look for mushrooms while hiking with his family in eastern Utah.
Search and rescue crews are tracking footprints and looking for any sign of motion in the rocky terrain where Malachi Bradley disappeared about 24 hours ago, Uintah County Sheriff Vance Norton said.
About 80 searchers, an airplane and a helicopter are combing the forested terrain. A speaker system is also broadcasting calls to the boy, Norton said.
Malachi had hiked to Paul Lake with his brother, his sister, his father and his father’s friend when he walked away about 10:30 a.m., Norton said.
When he didn’t return after about 30 minutes, his worried father hiked back to the car at Paradise Park Campground in Ashley National Forest, drove to an area with cellphone reception and called 911. The search started Sunday and resumed Monday morning after an overnight suspension.
Police said Malachi has a coat and a backpack with him and the weather has been relatively warm. But a sudden rain or dip in temperatures could raise the danger of hypothermia in the high-elevation area about 200 miles east of Salt Lake City, Norton said. The National Weather Service recorded temperatures in the upper 30s in the area overnight.
“We’re hoping he had something in the pack that could help him through the night,” Norton said. The boy is from the Salt Lake City area, and his father is an avid hiker and camper who had talked with his son about what to do if he got lost, Norton said.
Paul Lake is near the top of a mountain, at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet, though the terrain around the lake is relatively flat.
Authorities say they’re relying on trained searchers rather than volunteers in the rugged Uinta Mountains close to the Wyoming border.
Personnel from neighboring counties as well as the Ute Indian Tribe are searching for the boy.
It’s easy to get lost in the area, and sudden changes in weather can be dangerous, Kevin Bardsley said. His son vanished in 2004 as he walked near the family’s campsite in the Uintas, and no trace of the 12-year-old boy has ever been found. He’s hoping to help with the latest search through the Garrett Bardsley Foundation, which bears his son’s name.
“It’s like finding a needle in a haystack,” he said. “I’ve had grown men sit down for lunch, stand up and say they knew which way they were going to the car, looked down at the GPS and realized they would have been going completely the wrong direction.”
His son also went missing in late August, and a snowstorm hit the area within days, he said.