UPDATE: Missing camper returns safely - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Missing camper returns safely

UPDATE: The Fayette County Sheriff's Department says the man reported missing at Camp Washington Carver has been located safely. He found his way out of the woods early this morning just after daybreak.


CLIFFTOP (WVVA) - The Fayette County Sheriff's Department was leading a search for a missing camper in the Clifftop area near Camp Washington Carver Friday night.

The camper, identified as 58-year-old Cornelius 'Neil' Carrol of Weaverville, N.C., was camping at the Appalachian String Band Festival when he went for a hike and did not return.

Authorities said the man had made contact with family via cellphone, telling them he was in a steep, heavily wooded area near running water -- but contact has since been lost.

Helicopters with thermal imaging technology were en route to the area late Friday to assist in the search.

If the aerial units were unsuccessful, Sheriff Steve Kessler said the search would be suspended until daylight.

Following is the full press release from the sheriff's department:

Press Release: The Fayette County Sheriff's Office is directing the search for a missing man in the Clifftop area of Fayette County. Cornelius "Neil" Carroll, age 58, of Weaverville, NC has been camping at the Appalachian String Band Festival at Camp Washington Carver at Clifftop. He apparently went for a hike in the woods surrounding Camp Washington Carver earlier this afternoon and has not returned. He was in contact with his family by cellular phone for a brief period earlier this evening. He reported that he was in a very steep, heavily wooded area and could hear running water. His cell phone has since lost power and all contact with him has been lost.

Members of the Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit attempted to initiate a track but were unsuccessful in this attempt. Officers at the scene are currently awaiting for assistance from helicopters equipped with thermal imaging equipment. "Unless we are able to locate this individual through the use of aviation units, we will be suspending all search operations until daylight," said Sheriff Kessler. "It's simply not safe to put emergency responders into the woods at night, plus it would be easy for these responders to overlook signs that might lead to the recovery of the missing individual."

First responders from local fire departments are at the scene to provide rescue assistance if the aviation units are successful in locating this individual. 


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