Missing man found safe
A Waynesville man who was missing for about 30 hours in the freezing temperatures was found safe but disoriented in the Jonathan Creek area Thursday afternoon.
Noah Myer's mother reported him missing around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, telling authorities that the 30-year-old was last seen Tuesday wearing hiking pants, a jacket and a backpack.
Haywood County Emergency Management and the Haywood County Sheriff's Office immediately issued a "be on the lookout" to other agencies in the county. They began their search for Myer at the top of Hemphill Mountain on Purchase Knob, continuing until the snow, wind and falling temperatures forced crews to stop around 10 p.m. said Chief Deputy Jeff Haynes with the Haywood County Sheriff's Office.
The search resumed at dawn Thursday, spanning urban areas in town to extremely rural areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
At one point, Sgt. Chris Shell with the sheriff's office said he was helping crews search at the top of Hemphill in knee-deep snow drifts.
Greg Shuping, director of Emergency Management, said this search and rescue involved less search on foot and more investigative work involving cell phone tracking and interviewing people in the community.
Crews made several attempts to locate Myer through GPS on his cell phone, which were not successful.
After Myer was reported missing, The Mountaineer placed the information on Facebook, which was shared by at least 65 concerned readers and ultimately aided in the rescue effort, authorities said.
After a 30-hour search, Myer was found uninjured but disoriented at the base of the Parkway near Jonathan Creek.
Why or how he went missing is unknown to authorities at this point, Haynes said. They do know that he was able to stay warm overnight after finding some type of shelter.
Other agencies involved in the search included Haywood County 9-1-1, Jonathan Creek Fire Department, Haywood County EMS, N.C. Search and Rescue Dogs and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service.
Haynes said he could speak for all authorities involved in the case that they were happy to have found Myer alive and well.
"This is a positive result of multiple agencies working well together toward a common goal," Haynes said.