Teen missing more than a week in the Smokies walks out of backcountry

18-year-old Austin Bohanan had been missing for 11 days.

UPDATE Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 at 7:20 p.m.: A spokesperson for Blount Memorial Hospital said Austin Bohanan has been released from the hospital. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials said Bohanan, 18, walked out of the backcountry area near Tabcat Creek around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. He had been missing for 11 days. 

Two search and rescue dog teams and 28 emergency responders were continuing to look for Bohanan in the 6,700-acre search area on Tuesday., according to park officials. 

One search team had been planning to camp overnight in one of the more remote sections of the search area Tuesday night until Bohanan walked out of the backcountry that afternoon, park officials said.

UPDATE Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 at 3:30 p.m.: A teen who was reported missing more than a week ago in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park walked out of the woods and to safety on Tuesday.

Park officials have released no further information about Austin Bohanan, other than that he was transported to Blount Memorial Hospital after walking out of the backcountry area near Panther Creek.

UPDATE Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017 at 11:20 a.m.:  Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers coordinated seven teams of searchers on Saturday in efforts to find missing teen, Austin Bohanan. 

They plan to cover new areas within the 6,700-acre search area in the remote, southwest corner of the park near Chilhowee Lake. Crews have already covered high priority areas including drainages and ridges. 

Bohanan has been missing since Friday, August 11. He was reportedly last seen hiking off trail. 

40 trained individuals from NPS make up the teams as well as Backcountry Unit Search and Rescue (BUSAR), Blount Special Operations and Response Team (BSORT), Blount County Rescue Squad, and Great Smoky Institute at Tremont crews.

UPDATE Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 at 12:25 p.m.: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers sent their five search teams back into the southwest section of the park's backcountry on Friday to continue the search for Austin Bohanan.

He was last seen on Friday, Aug. 11, but was reported missing on Sunday night. 

Search efforts have been underway since Monday. Crews have been navigating steep terrain within a 6,700-acre search area in the remote southwest corner of the park near Chilhowee Lake. Search and rescue dog teams joined on Thursday, but did not provide any significant leads.

According to the National Park Service, the search area contains some old manways and roadbeds, but there are no maintained trails.

"They are meticulously climbing in and under and going through those challenges to do everything they can to search for Austin," park spokesperson Dana Soehn said.

Significant wind storms over the last 10 years, including the 2011 F4 tornado, left behind many downed trees throughout the area making off-trail travel even more challenging.

"Thankfully Austin was a healthy young, 18-year-old, strong, young man and we are incredibly hopeful that we will have a good outcome," Soehn said.

Bohanan is a white male between 5’2”-5’5” feet tall, weighs between 120-150 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.

He was last seen wearing blue jeans, an unknown color t-shirt and blue Nike baseball cap. If anyone has seen Bohanan since Friday evening please call the park service at 865-436-1230.

UPDATE Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 at 2:18 p.m.: Two search and rescue dog teams joined 30 trained emergency responders in the search for a missing 18-year-old.

Austin Bohanan, 18, was last seen hiking off-trail in the remote southwest corner of the park on Friday night. His family reported him missing around 8 p.m. Sunday. 

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency sent their search and rescue dog teams out on Thursday. The ground search teams are navigating dense vegetation and difficult terrain in the remote southwest corner of the park near Chilhowee Lake.

According to NPS, search teams are primarily conducting linear searches of drainages and ridges looking for any evidence of human travel.

Bohanan is a white male between 5’2”-5’5” feet tall, weighs between 120-150 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.

He was last seen wearing blue jeans, an unknown color t-shirt, and blue Nike baseball cap. If anyone has seen Bohanan since Friday evening please call the park at (865) 436-1230.

UPDATE Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.: Late Tuesday afternoon, Tennessee Highway Patrol utilized a Bell Jet Ranger Helicopter to search for missing Blount County teen Austin Bohanan.

Bohanan, 18, was last seen hiking on Friday night. He was reported missing around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Five search teams consisting of rangers from the park's search and rescue team, officers with Tennessee Wildlife Resource Authority and individuals with the Backcountry Unit Search and Rescue team, or BUSAR, began searching the area. A total of 24 individuals are involved, according to a release from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Officials have requested the help of two canine search teams through the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

Search operations remain limited to a select number of trained searchers. By limiting the number of searchers in the area, rangers will have the best chance to find Bohanan quickly, park officials said.

Bohanan is a white male between 5’2”-5’5” feet tall, weighs between 120-150 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.

He was last seen wearing blue jeans, an unknown color t-shirt, and blue Nike baseball cap. If anyone has seen Bohanan since Friday evening please call the park at (865) 436-1230.

UPDATE Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 3 p.m.: Four search teams worked Tuesday to find an 18-year-old Blount County man last seen hiking over the weekend in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The search was ongoing Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Park Service.

The teams consisted of rangers from the park’s Search and Rescue team, officers with Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency and people from the Backcountry Unit Search and Rescue team, according to the Park Service.

Austin Bohanan is thought to have been last seen hiking Friday night in a remote southwest corner of the park. He was reported missing about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

PREVIOUS STORY: Park rangers are searching for an 18-year-old from Blount County who is believed to be lost in the national park. 

Austin Bohanan was reported missing around 6:30 p.m. Sunday in the southwest area of the park, according to a spokesperson with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Rangers started a ground search Monday morning with 13 members of the park's search and rescue team. 

The search is focused on the southwest area of the park near Highway 129, the spokesperson said.

No further information about the search was immediately available.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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