08 June 2015

UPDATE: Mother and 16-year-old son missing in Clingmans Dome area of Smokies found at 2 p.m. today

UPDATE: Rangers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park have found a missing woman and her son from Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin who had been reported being lost in the park on Sunday, June 7.

Christy Barns, 40, and her son, Casey, 16, had sent a text message to family members on Sunday evening at 8:38 p.m. stating they were lost and needed help. Rangers were notified and were able to locate the individuals’ vehicle at Clingmans Dome. The ground search was initiated on Monday morning and the pair was soon found in good condition along the Forney Ridge trail a little before 2:00 p.m.

The park had mobilized an incident management team and deployed search teams to the trails surrounding Clingmans Dome. The search involved 30 National Park Services employees with 15 of those actively searching in the field. The initial search focused on trails which carried the highest probability of where the pair may have been located. 

We reported earlier:
A search is underway for a mother and her 16-year-old son from Wisconsin, who are missing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near the Clingmans Dome area. Dana Soehn, spokesperson for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, said officials believe the pair was day hiking but that no other information is available.

They were reported missing Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. when they didn't return from their hike. The search for the missing hikers began Monday morning. More details will hopefully be known later today, Soehn said. These hikers are not to be confused with hikers lost Saturday in the Roaring Fork area who were reunited with their party.

At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's highest point. It is the highest point in Tennessee and the second highest point east of the Mississippi. It's a popular Park destination and is located in both North Carolina and Tennessee. The peak is accessible after driving Clingmans Dome Road from Newfound Gap, and then walking a steep half-mile trail. A paved trail leads to a 54-foot observation tower. The Appalachian Trail crosses Clingmans Dome, marking the highest point along its 2,144-mile journey.

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