The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office 911 Communications Center received a call at 8:42 p.m. Monday, July 6, reporting the overdue hikers. Two adults and one child had parked in the Black Balsam area around noon that day for a day hike in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area but then failed to return. The group had a day pack with them, the caller reported.
Personnel dispatched to the area located the vehicle, and several agencies responded with search teams to coordinate, manage and initiate the search. The search operation continued through the night with four search and rescue teams covering the area. Tuesday morning, multiple agencies arrived on the scene, with dozens of searchers covering the area in two, three and four-member teams.
The search is considered urgent due to the hikers’ lack of rain gear and lack of preparation for adverse weather.
The parking lot for the Black Balsam area is closed to visitors while the search continues.