Efforts continue Friday to locate a missing runner who failed to return from Mt. Marathon in Seward after the July 4 race. As KSKA’s Ellen Lockyer reports, Alaska State Troopers were called in on Thursday, after the runner, age 66, made it nearly to the top of the mountain, but hasn’t been seen since.
The man, Michael Lemaitre, of Anchorage, was last seen near the top of the 3022 foot mountain about 3 hours after the start of the race. On Thursday, Alaska Mountain Rescue Group joined the scene searching for the man, and the search coordination has been handed over to the Alaska State Troopers, after local volunteers failed to find any sign of Lemaitre last night.
Trooper spokesperson Megan Peters:
“Unfortunately, weather is hampering our search efforts. There is a lot of rain and fog and it is making visibility very poor. So we certainly have a lot of people out and trying to track down this gentleman.”
Peters says Alaska Air National Guard parajumpers have been called in to assist in the search. A Trooper helicopter and search and rescue dogs have been dispatched to the scene, and a second Trooper helicopter is standing by.
“At this point the entire East side of the mountain has been searched with hasty search teams. They are going to be going back over the East side, doing more detailed searches. While that is going on the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group teams are going to be doing a search of the West and the South side. Now, those are the most treacherous areas on the mountain.”
Lemaitre’s family reported him missing Wednesday evening. Seward Chamber of Commerce director Cindy Clock said earlier thursday that volunteer rescuers had not been able to locate the runner on the city side of the mountain Wednesday night. Seward officials are not commenting, and have directed media inquiries to the Troopers. Troopers say it is known that Lemaitre had poor eyesight, and may have been running without his glasses.