Missing Henderson Co. hikers found safe - FOX Carolina 21

Missing Henderson Co. hikers found safe

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Search crews found the missing hikers Sunday evening. (Sept. 15, 2013/FOX Carolina) Search crews found the missing hikers Sunday evening. (Sept. 15, 2013/FOX Carolina)
DANA, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Rescue officials in Henderson County said two missing hikers have been found safe after searching for them in the Deep Gap area near the town of Dana.

Capt. Lowell Griffin of the Henderson County Sheriff's Office said Jonathan Heatherly, 32, and Janice Collins, 55, went hiking in the area Saturday and never returned.

Griffin said the pair left at 3 p.m. and were due to return before dark.

Griffin said the sheriff's office became involved when the agency received a call at about 1 a.m. Sunday about suspicious activity in the Deep Gap area. When deputies arrives, Griffin said they found family members of the missing hikers searching for their loved ones.

Deputies began organizing search teams at that point and said rescue efforts continued throughout the day Sunday.

Griffin said rescue hikers and crews on all-terrain vehicles combed the area with assistance from dog rescue groups from both Carolinas and aerial searches with police helicopters.

Griffin said cellular signal does not reach the Deep Gap area, so communication between search parties and other agencies has been difficult.

"It's a very vast area that leads into the Green River game lands," Griffin said. "The area is very rugged and remote."

Griffin said the hikers were located on a trail in the woods at about 6 p.m.

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