More than 100 rescuers continue search for missing hiker in Pisgah National Forest

More than 100 rescuers continue search for missing hiker in Pisgah National Forest
Chad Seger (Haywood County Sheriff's Office)

HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. — Search and rescue crews were expected to continue searching Monday for a hiker who has been reported missing in the North Carolina mountains.

More than 100 people will, for the third straight day, comb through the Pisgah National Forest Monday, searching for the Asheville hiker.

Officials with Haywood County Emergency Management said 27-year-old Chad Seger was last heard from last Monday and his family reported him missing Friday, WLOS reported.

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Officials said Seger’s car had been found at the entrance of a popular hiking trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway after he was reported missing on Friday.

Search efforts Saturday and Sunday turned up no sign of him.

Seger is from Asheville, is familiar with the area, is in good physical health and may have had hiking or camping gear with him, emergency management spokeswoman Allison Richmond said.

On Monday morning, a friend and fellow Marine Corps veteran reached out to the community with a message.

“We consider each other family and when stuff like this kind of happens like a brother or sister in arms goes missing or is hurting or something, as a veteran community, we should obviously come together and help them through whatever is going on,” friend Charles Jungnick said.

A group of more than 120 people, including K-9 units and the North Carolina Highway Patrol’s helicopter, spent Sunday searching for Seger.

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Rescuers are worried about the recent cold nights, but believe Seger may have camping gear.

Haywood County Emergency Services said tourism around leaf season and the uptick since the start of the pandemic has hindered their search efforts.

“It’s the busiest time of year, obviously, with leaf season tourism being high and with COVID, everyone’s trying to be out and about and trying to find something that they can do, it just hinders our efforts, unfortunately," Richmond said.

Authorities are advising people to avoid a 25-mile stretch of road between Highway 276 and Highway 215 on the Blue Ridge Parkway as crews continue to search for Seger.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.