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Search for Missing U.S. Student Colin Madsen Turns to 'Love Peak'

by Alexey Eremenko /  / Updated 
Colin Madsen.Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs

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MOSCOW — Police, rescue officials and volunteers searched a Siberian mountainside Thursday looking for any sign of a missing American student.

Missouri native Colin Madsen, 25, left his guesthouse in the Russian Republic of Buryatia on Sunday, reportedly wearing nothing but a T-shirt. He has not been seen since.

 Colin Madsen. Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs

Locals in tourist town of Arshan were questioned, police said in a statement. However, no suspects were identified.

The search operation was focused Thursday on nearby mountains. Plans to deploy motorized hang-glider have been hampered by weather, according to police.

Daily temperatures in the region have been hovering around 32F, with rain and sleet.

Madsen entered a student exchange program in Irkutsk State Linguistic University in 2013, the Buryatia branch of the Investigative Committee said on its website Thursday. He spoke fluent Russian and had traveled to Arshan four times before the incident, authorities said.

Madsen and two friends were planning to scale a 1.2-mile high mountain known as the "Love Peak," according to local reports.

Shamans have claimed that the area is high in spirit activity and dangerous for uninitiated hikers.

On Wednesday, one of the missing American's friends confirmed that shamans were also involved in the search.

"When you have nothing else, you're willing to try anything," Vlad Rasputin said. "What do we have to lose?"

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