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Search effort for missing climbers on Mt. Hood suspended; becomes recovery mission

December 16, 2009 |  6:15 pm

A helicopter flies past Mt. Hood's Crater Rock on Sunday in search of two missing climbers.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office announced this afternoon that the search for two climbers that have been missing on Oregon's 11,249-foot Mt. Hood since Friday has been suspended and is now being handled as a recovery effort.

"One of the most difficult decisions I have to make as Sheriff is the decision to suspend search operations. I have consulted with all of the search-and-rescue experts at my disposal, along with the family members of Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietta, and have made the decision to suspect search operations at this time," Sheriff Craig Roberts said in a news release.

"My condolences go out to all the family and friends of Luke Gullberg, Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti. I would like to thank all of the search-and-rescue personnel for the many hours they have spent on this search and others. Without these dedicated individuals, we could not perform difficult missions."

Avalanche danger and severe weather has kept search and rescue teams from reaching the area where  24-year-old Anthony Vietti, of Longview, Wash., and 29-year-old Katie Nolan, of Portland, Ore., are believed to be.

The climbers' families praised the efforts of search and rescue teams at a news conference today, reports Oregon Fox Television affiliate KPTV.

"They have risked their lives," David Nolan, Katie's father, said. "They have sacrificed time with their family and children. These guys have courage and valor."

--Kelly Burgess

Photo: A helicopter flies past Mt. Hood's Crater Rock on Sunday in search of two missing climbers. Credit: Don Ryan / Associated Press


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