Video: Search expands for missing 8-year-old

updated 10/18/2006 6:11:29 PM ET 2006-10-18T22:11:29

Searchers in helicopters and with rappelling equipment spent a fourth day Wednesday scouring the woods and embankments surrounding Crater Lake where an 8-year-old boy wandered off during a weekend hike with his father.

Park officials said they had not given up hope that Sammy Boehlke would be found alive and were expanding the search area.

“We’re continuing to search for a live 8-year-old boy, focusing on concealed areas, areas under cover,” said Park Service spokesman Rudy Evenson.

During a hike with his father on Saturday, the boy had climbed a rock embankment ahead of his father, Ken Boehlke, and disappeared into the woods, officials said.

Snow fell Sunday and Monday, but the weather improved Tuesday, allowing a helicopter to examine the lake’s edge and rappelling crews from Yosemite National Park to work their way down the walls of the volcanic basin that forms the lake.

The boy had on a winter coat and has camping experience but no wilderness survival training, officials said. The temperature Tuesday night was in 20s.

About 145 rescue workers continued the search on Wednesday, focusing on wooded areas and looking “under rocks, logs and in small hiding places,” Evenson said.

“We are holding out hope he might be in a place like that, where he might have sheltered for a few days.”

The terrain varies from nearly flat to gently rolling, with house-size blocks of lava and woods filled with conifers. The crater was formed by the explosion of a Cascades Range volcano about 7,000 years ago. Snow melt supplies the lake with water.

Chief Ranger David Brennan said officials were treating the situation as a missing person case.

“There’s absolutely nothing to indicate foul play or criminal activity,” he said.

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