Body found on Phoenix mountain where man missing

AP News
Posted: Jun 03, 2014 10:23 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — A body was found Tuesday near the top of a popular Phoenix mountain where authorities had been searching for a Seattle man who went missing after going on a weekend hike.

Hikers reported finding the body on the south side of Camelback Mountain, about 200 feet from the peak in rugged terrain dotted with some brush, Phoenix Fire Department officials said.

It wasn't immediately clear if the body was that of Eric Fernandes, 23, who was last seen by other hikers Saturday. They said he was alone and described him as surprised by the difficulty of the hike.

A helicopter was to lift the body off the mountain before authorities begin the task of identifying it.

The ground search for Fernandes had been halted just hours before the body was found late Tuesday afternoon. Phoenix police said search crews had covered all the area they could by foot and there was no sign of the man.

Sgt. Trent Crump, a police spokesman, said people in distress on the steep, rocky mountain can be hard to spot if they have fallen into crevices.

Crews had to stop searching for Fernandes on Monday because of 110-degree temperatures. The search resumed Tuesday morning. Investigators also posted Fernandes' photo and other information on Camelback Mountain's trailheads.

Fernandes had been visiting the Phoenix area with his father and planned to hike the mountain before heading home. Max Fernandes reported his son missing Sunday.

Investigators found Eric Fernandes' car at a trailhead and recovered receipts that indicate he bought a hydration backpack and some water.

Police said his cellphone died sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.