Canadian wilds searched for missing German

Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:46pm EDT
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Searchers are scouring the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia for a German hiker who vanished while making a 40-day solo trek through the remote Canadian wilderness, police said on Friday.

Officials fear Michael Raster may have gotten lost or injured on the trip, which the experienced back-country hiker reportedly undertook without a satellite phone, or a gun that might be needed to fend off grizzly bears.

The 43-year-old was last seen on August 1, when a float plane dropped him off to begin a hike of about 160 km (100 miles) through the rugged Tuchodi Lakes area west of Fort Nelson, British Columbia, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

Raster was reported missing on September 12, when he failed to meet the plane at a rendezvous site. The plane had been delayed two days in reaching the pickup site because of high winds, according to police.

Searchers, who are combing the region by air and on the ground, said it was possible Raster had underestimated how long it would take him to make the difficult journey, noting the weather in the area is beginning to turn colder.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson)