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Missing man found alive in Oregon wilderness after 17 days


(ROSEBURG, Ore.) — After 17 days of combing the Oregon wilderness, search and rescue teams found a missing 69-year-old man safe and sound.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office announced early Monday morning that Harry Burleigh was recuperating at an area hospital after rescuers airlifted him from the Twin Lakes area. Burleigh went fishing in the area on May 6 but didn’t return home, according to investigators.

Over the next two weeks, rescuers found remnants of shelters that he created while he was lost in the wilderness, and on Sunday afternoon they discovered Burleigh at one of his shelters, investigators said.

“This was the outcome we all have been looking for in this case. It is because of our determined Search and Rescue Teams and the partnerships we have with other SAR teams from around the state, that Mr. Burleigh has been reunited with his family this evening,” Sgt. Brad O’Dell of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Sunday.

Crews first found Burleigh’s car on May 8 and didn’t have any updates on his whereabouts until more than a week later, according to the sheriff’s office. On May 16, they discovered a makeshift shelter and a tackle box that belonged to Burleigh in one area of the wilderness, investigators said.

A week later, crews searched an area southwest of the shelter and found another makeshift shelter.

“The search crews called out to Mr. Burleigh, who responded back,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

When the search crews discovered Burleigh, he was walking and complained of minor pain but was in stable condition, according to investigators. He was airlifted to the hospital.

Search and rescue crews from 15 other agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard and United States Forest Service joined in on the search, according to the sheriff’s office.


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