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Search for hikers in Washington slowed by snow

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 7:15 p.m.

SEATTLE — Search and rescue officials renewed their efforts on Wednesday to find a man and a woman missing in separate, remote parts of southwest Washington after a helicopter rescued two other hikers from waist-deep snow.

Hikers Matt Margiotta and Kyla Arnold were hoisted aboard a Coast Guard helicopter Tuesday evening from the snowy Pacific Crest Trail where it crosses the western flank of 12,280-foot Mount Adams. The helicopter rescue came after a group of ground searchers made it to within less than a mile of the couple, only to be stopped by deep snow and failing daylight.

The helicopter also picked up the five ground searchers, including one who had sprained an ankle, the Coast Guard said.

Two other hikers remained missing Wednesday. One, Kristopher Zitzewitz, was last seen Saturday in the Big Lava Beds area of Gifford Pinchot National Forest, southwest of the mountain. Ground crews resumed searching for him Wednesday morning, said Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox, and though there was at least a brief break in the weather it remained unclear whether crews would be able to look by helicopter as well.

Meanwhile, officials were coming up with a game plan for finding Alejandra Wilson, who had also been hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and was believed to be about a day's hike north of where Margiotta and Arnold were found.

Wilson's father, Dane Wilson of Portland, Ore., last heard from her Friday, as she was leaving Trout Lake, a tiny hamlet south of Mount Adams, for White Pass. He reported her overdue when she failed to check in again by Monday, but it wasn't clear whether she needed assistance.

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