GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — Rescue crews are fighting rugged terrain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as search efforts for a missing man remain ongoing.
Gordon Kaye, 68, of Tampa, Florida was reported missing on April 26. He was last seen near a backcountry campsite on April 23.
“Our searchers, they are in good spirits, they are a little tired. They are in good spirits though and they are dedicated at what they do,” Emily Davis, GSMNP public information officer, said.
The search is focused in and around the Deep Creek area.
“Our teams are searching for him in the area where he was last seen,” Davis said. “They are recovering their tracks if you will on various trails throughout the area looking for clues and leads that might help them find my Kaye.”
Waldens Creek Volunteer Fire Department Lieutenant Samuel Torres said the first few days are the most crucial in these types of searches.
“Most search and rescue teams, they try to get out there and find them within the first 72 hours and then after that it is more of a prolonged and grueling process of just being very thorough,” Torres said. “If you have not found any evidence or any clues you just want to find clues and evidence, something that would point you in a direction they are at.”
The terrain is making the search difficult.
“It’s very steep, it’s rugged with a little bit of rain lately it’s slippery as well,” Davis said. “Visibility is rather limited too, it’s so green and lush right now.”
Davis said crews are prepared to continue the search for Kaye throughout the week.
If you have any information on Kaye or his whereabouts, you are asked to call the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Dispatch 865-436-1230.