Crews suspend search for missing hiker in Ferguson Canyon amid bad weather

Posted at 2:56 PM, Apr 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-08 23:23:55-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- Twenty-five search and rescue volunteers, five UPD officers and one DPS helicopter scoured Ferguson Canyon Saturday in hopes of finding Benjamin Kritzer, a missing hiker from Saratoga Springs.

The search was eventually suspended around 3 p.m. due to bad weather.

"The weather is a little tricky with the rain, the hail and the Lightning," said Detective Ken Hansen with the Unified Police Department.

Police said Kritzer took Thursday and Friday off work to go hiking, but when he never came back friends and family got concerned.

Police found his car at the Ferguson Canyon Trailhead Saturday morning.

"They are checking the GPS tracks of all the search and rescue volunteers to see if we missed any part of this area," Hansen said.

Police said Kritzer is known as an experienced hiker, but if he ventured off the trail there is no telling where he may have gone or what he may have encountered. They fear he may have suffered some sort of injury.

"You know the mountains, with it being slippery and so much moisture this winter, these conditions may be a little bit different than what he is used to," Hansen said.

Gary Commagere lives in the area and hikes Ferguson Canyon regularly. He said it can be deceiving because the first three quarters of a mile are pretty easy.

"Then it gets really steep really quickly and a lot of loose gravel up there," Commagere said. "You could get yourself in trouble and not be able to come back down."

Police said they are optimistic Kritzer is still alive. Search and rescue efforts are scheduled to resume first thing Sunday morning.

"If he has any kind of survival skills and is maybe able to hunker down, it hasn't been that cold, hopefully we can get to him, get something too him as soon as we can," Hansen said.