Responders searched for a juvenile hiker reported missing Monday night near the Herring Cove trailhead in Sitka. (Photo provided by Sitka Trail Works)

Responders searched for a juvenile hiker reported missing near Herring Cove in Sitka for about five hours Monday night (8-21-23), only to learn that the person was located miles away, in town. 

Sitka Police, Coast Guard, and 13 members of Sitka Search and Rescue responded to a report of a missing juvenile at about 7:30 pm Monday near the Herring Cove trailhead. Shortly after beginning the search, responders encountered a bear in the area, and State Troopers arrived soon after to provide additional support. 

In an interview with KCAW, Fire Chief Craig Warren said that because the report was received in the evening and indicated that the hiker was not dressed warmly, a swift, robust response was necessary. 

“This was a short-notice, complex SAR that had a lot  of moving parts,” Warren said. “We had 13 fire department members, we had a Coast guard helicopter, we had Fish and Wildlife Troopers, we had Sitka PD. There were a lot of people out there for about five hours working to try to bring the person home safely.”

According to Sitka Police Department spokesperson Serena Wild, the report said that the juvenile had gone into the woods looking for a dog about an hour before the initial call was received. The caller stated that she heard a scream and the juvenile didn’t return.  

Wild said that it’s unclear when or how the juvenile returned to town. State Troopers are investigating the incident further.