2 hikers stranded in snow in Washington hoisted to safety

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The southern section of Washington’s Pacific Crest Trail.

STEVENSON, Wash. — A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted two stranded hikers to safety from the Pacific Crest Trail in southwestern Washington Tuesday night after a rescue ground team had to turn back because of waist-deep snow and failing daylight, authorities said.

Searchers were continuing to look for two other hikers believed to be missing in southwestern Washington on the 2,660-mile trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada.

The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office said the Coast Guard helicopter, out of Astoria, Ore., rescued hikers Matt Margiotta and Kyla Arnold from the trail north of Trout Lake, Wash., Tuesday night.

Margiotta was able to call authorities at 7:30 a.m. Monday to report that they were in snow and may have to be rescued. The pair had been hiking the trail from Mexico and were bound for Canada. Ground searchers were within three-quarters of a mile of the pair Tuesday night when they had to turn back because of waist-deep snow and falling darkness, the office said. That’s when the helicopter was called in.

The condition of the hikers was not immediately known.

Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office said a search was under way for Portland hiker Kristopher Zitzewitz, 31, in an area north of Cook, Wash., in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Zitzewitz was looking for caves with his hiking partner, Caleb Richie, of Portland, when they became separated at about 2 p.m. Saturday. The search for Zitzewitz will continue Wednesday morning, the office said.

Officials are also trying to locate Alejandrea Wilson, 23, who was reported overdue Monday morning  by her father. She was hiking north on the Pacific Crest Trail, the office said. She last talked with her father at 3 p.m. Friday as she was leaving Trout Lake for White Pass, Wash., the office said.

“Deputies continue to compile additional information to determine her whereabouts and condition at this time,” the sheriff’s office said.

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