Search called off
Leon Youngblood | The Seward Phoenix LOG
Access to Mount Marathon was closed early in the search for missing runner Michael LeMaitre.
The search for missing Mount Marathon runner Michael LeMaitre was suspended Saturday by Seward Fire Department.
LeMaitre went missing during the 4th of July Mount Marathon Race after last being seen about 200 feet from the summit of the mountain about 6 p.m. His wife Peggy Oaks notified race officials by 8 p.m ., and SFD and volunteers began searching the mountain immediately.
For most of the 10-day search, conditions on the mountain were wet, cool and miserable. Rain fell much of the time, making the mountain slick and difficult to navigate. Volunteers and state agencies joined SFD in the ground search. Aircraft surveyed the mountain from the air. Areas surrounding the mountain were also searched. Alaska State Troopers suspended their search efforts on July 7.
The SFD announcement on July 14 cited the dangerous conditions and depleting resources as reasons for calling off the search. The department said that when conditions improved and substantial evidence developed they would put small teams on the mountain to search.
The LeMaitre family released an obituary for Michael on July 11 and held a celebration of life for him on Saturday in Anchorage. LeMaitre’s son-in-law Curtis Lynn told KTUU that the family did not want to searchers to endanger themselves and asked that the search be suspended.
Veteran Mount Marathon racer Matthew Kenney, who tumbled down the cliffs at the mountain’s base and incurred a broken skull, broken leg and other injuries. Kenney remained unconscious at Alaska Regional Hospital last week. At press time yesterday, the hospital would not comment on his status.