After Massive Two-Day Search Effort, Missing Hiker Emerges Under Her own Power

At 5:30 pm on Wednesday evening, Fina Kiefer, missing hiker, and subject of a massive search effort, emerged from the woods near Knik River Road an hour after search efforts were suspended due to deteriorating weather conditions. A departing searcher was waved down by Kiefer as he was leaving the search area and EMS transported her to the Mat-Su Regional Hospital for evaluation.

Troopers were first informed of her missing status at approximately 1:30 am on Tuesday morning. AST was contacted by her husband who reported that his wife was in need of assistance on the Pioneer Ridge Trail. He reported that Fina, his wife, had contacted him asking for help after “charged by multiple bears and discharging bear spray,” troopers stated. Shortly after that contact with her husband, Fina stopped responding to calls and text messages.

Troopers immediately responded to the trail area and searched the first section with no results and the Rescue Coordination Center was notified of the incident and began flying the trail and immediate area throughout the day. “In addition to the aerial search volunteers with the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, Solstice Search and Rescue Dogs, Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol, and MATSAR have been searching the area from the ground using K9s,” according to the trooper reports.

Search efforts continued throughout the day and were suspended for the night at 10:30 pm. The Alaska Air National Guard continued aerial search efforts through the night.

Ground and aerial searches were taken up again on Wednesday in the Pioneer Ridge Trail area with volunteer search teams from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol, Alaska Solstice Search Dogs, MATSAR and the Alaska National Guard’s aerial assets.

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Deteriorating weather conditions caused search efforts to be suspended Wednesday afternoon, but Kiefer emerged from the woods at 5:30 pm bringing the incident to a fortunate close.