Body of missing hiker found in Denali National Park

Hiker missing in Denali
Purdy (above) was last heard from on April 26. Photo: Courtesy of NPS

The dead body of a missing hiker was recovered in Alaska’s Denali National Park on Sunday, with rescue officials stating that the deceased hiker appeared to have died from falling down a steep slope and suffering a fatal head injury.

Michael Purdy, a 24-year-old hiker from Portland, Oregon, was reported missing in the park on Saturday after he didn’t show up on Friday for his first day of work at a local ATV touring company. According to the National Parks Service (NPS), Purdy had been doing a week of day hikes in Denali prior to his first day of work.

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Purdy’s body was recovered Sunday near the north end of the Savage River Loop Trail, a short two-mile riverside hiking route within the park. Rangers searched the area after finding Purdy’s car parked in the nearby Savage East parking lot.

According to a statement by the NPS, his car had likely been there since Tuesday, April 26 — the last day he made contact with anyone. Inside his car, the park rangers found overnight backpacking gear as well as food and basic supplies.

“Clues indicate that Purdy had diverted from the riverside trail to do some scrambling on higher terrain when he fell and suffered a fatal head injury,” a release from the NPS said. “Purdy’s remains will be recovered by the park helicopter via a long-line operation, then transferred to the State Medical Examiner.”

The statement from the NPS further noted that friends, family, and co-workers all described Purdy as an experienced backcountry adventurer who had spent plenty of time hiking through Denali.

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