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Missing sailor at Yosemite National Park didn't have car, left belongings, park says

Alexander Joseph Sevier was last seen at Yosemite National Park on May 3, 2017.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

By BROCK VERGAKIS | The Virginian-Pilot (Tribune News Service) | Published: May 11, 2017

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A sailor based in Portsmouth who was last seen in Yosemite National Park a week ago didn’t have a vehicle with him and left behind belongings at his campsite, according to park officials.

Rescue crews are searching for 24-year-old Hospitalman Alexander Joseph Sevier, who works at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and was on leave last week.

Sevier was last seen the morning of May 3 in the nearly 1,200-square-mile park in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. He was supposed to report back to duty in Portsmouth on Monday.

Park spokesman Scott Gediman said Sevier was supposed to check out of his campsite Saturday but failed to do so, and he never boarded his scheduled flight from San Francisco on Sunday.

Gediman said after Sevier arrived in San Francisco, he took a train to another city and then rode a bus to the park where he was staying alone. Gediman said it’s not uncommon for people to visit the park and hike by themselves.

Gediman said the park doesn’t have cameras at its entrances, so it’s possible Sevier could have caught a ride out of the park. But park officials are focusing their efforts on trails near the Yosemite Valley, where Sevier’s campsite was next to the Merced River.

Gediman said about 30 people, dogs and a helicopter from the California Highway Patrol have been assisting with the search, and that flyers with Sevier’s picture have been posted throughout the park.

He said temperatures this past week have been in the 70s during the day and dropping into the 30s at night. Time is crucial because Sevier likely ran out of food and water and was probably only wearing a T-shirt and shorts, Gediman said.

While the park conducts about 200 search-and-rescue missions each year, it typically only has two or three that last more than a few days.

Sevier, originally from Jacksonville, Fla., has been a duty corpsman at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth since Sept. 9, 2015.

©2017 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
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