Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers continue to search for 58 year-old Kevin Mark Lynch who went missing on Saturday, July 27. Lynch was reportedly last seen walking along the boundary of the park at the Swag resort in Haywood County, NC near the Cataloochee Divide Trail.
Yesterday, thirteen search teams composed of a variety of different agencies are conducting on and off-trail operations searching for Lynch. Teams are navigating through dense vegetation and difficult terrain in the remote southeast area of the park looking for any evidence of human travel. Park officials requested the assistance of six canine search teams through Haywood County Emergency Management. In total, 180 searchers, investigators, and incident command personnel are being utilized in the search effort.
At this time, search operations remain limited to a select number of trained searchers to enable a systematic, thorough search of the area. By limiting the number of searchers in the area, rangers have the best chance to find Lynch quickly. Dog teams and trackers can be hampered by additional people in the area when searchers are looking for signs of hiker travel.
Over thirty agencies are assisting with the search effort and include Appalachian Mountain Rescue Team, Buncombe County Rescue Squad, North Carolina Public Safety Prison Division, South Carolina Search and Rescue K9 Unit, Sevier County Search and Rescue, Sevier County Volunteer Rescue Squad, Backcountry Unit Search and Rescue team (BUSAR), Canton Police Department, Centerview Rescue Squad, Cosby Volunteer Rescue Squad, Chattanooga Rescue Squad, Haywood County Search and Rescue, Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, Civil Air Patrol, Haywood County Rescue Squad, Cataloochee Ranch Wranglers, Connestee Fire Rescue, Haywood County Transit, Haywood County Emergency Management, Haywood County Communications, Randall’s Adventure and Training Search and Rescue Team(RAT-SAR), Transylvania Rescue Squad, Brevard Fire Department, Asheville Fire Department, Henderson County Rescue Squad and Great Smoky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team.
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