EAGLE COUNTY — Searchers are scouring an 18-square-mile area trying to find an Indiana doctor who disappeared Friday during a hut trip with three friends.
Dr. James McGrogan disappeared Friday afternoon during a trip to the Eiseman Hut, north of Vail. Police say he separated from the group that afternoon.
When he left the group, McGrogan had a large pack with food, water, medical supplies, a GPS, sleeping bag, avalanche beacon, warm clothing and other tools, his friends told police. When the group reached their destination, the Eiseman Hut, McGrogan wasn’t there.
They called the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office about 5:30 p.m. Friday and searchers immediately headed for the area, said local law enforcement officials. They searched Saturday and Sunday.
Before resuming their search Monday morning, searchers had logged more than 700 man hours and 24 hours of helicopter work, according to Vail Mountain Rescue.
Searchers said the weather was hampering efforts, adding that 18 square miles is a huge area to search. The area stretches from Middle Creek to Booth Creek to behind Bald Mountain.
McGrogan, 39, is a native of Chesterton, Ind., located in northern Indiana just west of South Bend. He recently returned to the area with his wife and their two children. He had started a new job in the emergency department of St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, Ind., his mother, Arlene McGrogan, of Chesterton told The Munster (Indiana) Times.
He previously lived in southern Wisconsin where he worked as an emergency room physician in Beloit, the newspaper reported.
Arlene McGrogan said her son “was always adventurous” and likes to snowboard. She said the hiking trip to the Eiseman Hut was his first.
McGrogan is a 1993 graduate of Chesterton High School and a graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine.
About the searchers
Search crews have numbered more than 50 people, along with two Blackhawk helicopters from the High Altitude Aviation Training Site in Gypsum, headquartered at the Eagle County Regional Airport.
This past year, HAATS pilots flew to the rescue a record 28 times. They directly saved 14 lives. Of those missions, eight were casualty evacuations.
HAATS doesn’t charge for rescues, and neither does Vail Mountain Rescue, said Dan Smith, with Vail Mountain Rescue.
In Mountain Rescue no one gets paid. “We do it because we love it,” Smith said.
Groups assisting in the search include the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Mountain Rescue Group, Colorado Army National Guard High Altitude Aviation Training Site, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Alpine Rescue Group, Larimer County Search and Rescue Group, Summit County Rescue Group, Grand County Search and Rescue Group, and the Salvation Army.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.