A rescue crew has doubled the number of people searching for father-and-son hikers who have been missing in the frigid, snowy Rocky Mountains for nearly a week.
"We are hoping against hope that we find them alive," said Bill Barwick, a spokesman for the non-profit Alpine Rescue Team, which has 50 volunteers scouring the area around Echo Lake at the foot of Mount Evans in Colorado.
Damian McManus and his 19-year-old son, Evan, live in Minnesota and were last heard from Wednesday when they said they were going to "scale a peak," Barwick said.
The rest of their family was out of town, so the pair were not reported missing until Sunday. Authorities found their car but don't know what direction they were walking.
Adding to the concern, the McManuses were not well-equipped and the weather has been treacherous, with temperatures dropping to zero overnight and blizzard-like whiteout conditions hampering the search, Barwick said.
He said that there is no reliable cellphone coverage at 10,600 feet, so rescuers cannot track them that way.
As volunteers fan out, "we’re looking for any possible sign that they might be there. A piece of clothing or something unusual that gives us a sense of the direction where they went," he said.
Damian McManus is a vice president at an engineering firm and his son is a high school senior. On a Facebook page set up to raise awareness of their plight, a family friend said a prayer vigil for their safe return was being held in Minneapolis on Tuesday night.