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Search continues in Shining Rock Wilderness area for missing Asheville man

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Chad Seger, of Asheville, was last known to have been in the Black Balsam area of Pisgah National Forest on Monday, Oct 12. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Search and rescue efforts for a missing Asheville man resumed on Sunday, Oct. 18, in the Shining Rock Wilderness and Black Balsam Knob areas.

Crews are searching for Chad Seger, 27, of Asheville, who was last heard from on Monday, Oct. 12, and was reported missing by his family on Friday, Oct. 16.

"We’ll be back everyday for the next few days if need be until we have some conclusion here," said Allison Richmond, the public information officer for Haywood County Emergency Management Team.

Signs posted along trailheads say Seger suffers from a mental illness and may be evasive.

According to a flyer put out by the AWARE Foundation, Seger's phone last pinged at Johns Rock Overlook.

As crews continued searching into Sunday evening, officials said they are worried about the recent cold weather overnight.

"Hypothermia is always a concern here in the mountains," said Richmond. "Because of the sift, the large change in temperature ranges, it can go from nice and warm like it is right now to 30 degrees at night."

PEOPLE ADVISED TO AVOID AREA OF BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY AS SEARCH FOR MISSING HIKER CONTINUES

Family friends said Seger is a Marine veteran. A friend of Seger's twin sister, also a former Marine, spoke with News 13.

"We consider each other family and when stuff like this kind of happens, like a brother or sister in arms go missing or is hurting or something, as a veteran community we should obviously come together and help them through whatever is going on," said Charles Jungnick.

Officials continue urging people to avoid the 25 mile stretch of road between Highway 276 and Highway 215 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

"It’s the busiest time of the year, obviously with leaf season tourism being high and with COVID, everyone’s trying to be out and about and trying to find something that they can do," Richmond said. "It just hinders our efforts unfortunately."

Richmond reports over 120 searchers from multiple agencies assisted in Sunday's efforts, from as far away as Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Kannapolis.

A press release states a K9 unit was employed and air support provided by a North Carolina Highway Patrol helicopter team was being considered as well.

Sunday's crews expanded on areas searched Saturday while continuing to focus on the Shining Rock Wilderness and Black Balsam Knob areas in detail.

"All credible leads from social media and local hikers continue to be followed up on and the Incident Management Team encourages the public to keep sharing tips or possible sightings," Sunday's release states.

If you have been hiking anytime this week in the Black Balsam, Sam Knob, Mountains to Sea area of the Pisgah National Forest and have seen Chad Seger or have any information on his whereabouts, contact the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at 828-452-6600.

WHISTLE HELPS RESCUERS FIND FAMILY LOST IN SHINING ROCK WILDERNESS AREA

Earlier this year, a family of three got lost in the Shining Rock Wilderness area, spending the night in the woods. Crews were able to find the family a day after they had been reported missing, saying it was a happy ending with a cautionary message.

“Always give a plan to your family member about where you intend to go, exactly what trail head you're on and keep your phone charged or don't rely on your phone really," said Richmond, earlier this year. "It's not always the best tool in the woods."

The family luckily had a whistle with them which helped search crews find them.

This is a developing story. Check back for the latest updates.

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