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Missing hiker found alive in Kings Canyon National Park

SAR personnel found missing hiker Gregory Hein, 33, alive but injured at a high Sierra lake in Kings Canyon National Park after failing to return on time from a trip to Mount Goddard.
SAR personnel found missing hiker Gregory Hein, 33, alive but injured at a high Sierra lake in Kings Canyon National Park after failing to return on time from a trip to Mount Goddard.National Park Service

An experienced hiker overdue from a backpacking trip in Kings Canyon National Park was found alive but injured on Thursday evening, July 10, according to ABC30 Action News and the Fresno Bee. Search and rescue personnel found Clovis native Gregory Hein, 33, just after 7 pm. He was suffering from a broken leg and was stabilized and extricated from the wilderness for treatment.

Hein had not been seen or heard from since on July 3, when he drove to Florence Lake (elevation 7,200 feet) in the Sierra National Forest to begin a 5-day backpacking trip to Mount Goddard (elevation 13,568 feet) in Kings Canyon National Park. He was reported overdue on the afternoon of July 9.

Fresno County sheriffs located Hein's gray Honda Civic at the Florence Lake store but found no evidence that he had crossed the lake on the the ferry to reach the trail or camped anywhere nearby. The ferry saves hikers an approximately 4-mile hike around the west side of the lake to reach the trail.

Searchers in vehicles and on foot and horseback began looking for Hein late Wednesday supported by the Fresno County sheriff helicopter Eagle One. Hein was located yesterday evening by ground searchers less than a mile north of Mount Goddard near Davis Lake at an elevation above 10,000 feet. Officials believe that Hein reached his destination and became injured on the return trip.

Hein may have been injured for several days in the wilderness before rescuers discovered him. He was flown to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno where he is reportedly in serious condition. SAR personnel remained in the area overnight awaiting extrication.

Many in the Fresno-Clovis community are relieved to hear about Hein's rescue. According to the Bee, Hein is the son of Temperance-Kutner Elementary School principal Randy Hein and the grandson of Floyd "Doc" Buchanan, former superintendent for Clovis schools.