HAYWOOD COUNTY, NC (WSPA) –
UPDATE (2:30 p.m.) – Haywood County Chief Deputy Jeff Haynes confirms the three missing hikers were found safe.
Chief Deputy Jeff Haynes said they made contact with the missing hikers around 12 p.m. Tuesday.
Haynes said they were located and were walking out with the search and rescue personnel.
Haywood County Sheriff’s Office officials said a search is underway for three missing hikers.
According to a news release, the sheriff’s office’s 911 Communications Center received a call for three overdue hikers just before 8:45 p.m. Monday.
Sheriff’s Office officials said the hikers — two adults and one child — had parked in the Black Balsam parking area, had taken a day park and gone for a day hike in the Shining Rock Wilderness area around noon. The trio did not return.
Personnel were dispatched to the area and found their vehicle in the parking lot and several agencies then responded with search teams to coordinate, manage and start a search for the hikers.
According to the release, multiple agencies responded to the scene with search crews on Tuesday morning.
“The urgency is due to the lack of rain gear and being unprepared for the potential elements,” according to the sheriff’s office.
No other information is available at this time as search efforts continue.
According to the release, the parking lot for the Black Balsam area has been closed to visitors by the National Park Service.