PORTERSVILLE (KDKA) — A man who went missing while out hiking with family in McConnells Mill State Park Wednesday evening has been found safe.
According to park rangers, 19-year-old Sergio Garnica from Erie was missing for about two and a half hours. He was located just before nightfall.
Officials say there is great concern for anyone who goes missing in the park because of the terrain and several cliffs throughout the grounds.
Family members say Garnica kept running ahead of them, and at one point ran behind them and never came back.
State Police, several local fire departments and a search group were all called in to help look for Garnica when he went missing around 6:30 p.m. A search helicopter and K-9s were also put on standby.
He was found around 9 p.m. when he showed up at a nearby home outside of the park.
“Went hiking and was displaced from his family, and they turned around along the North Country Trail at Walnut Flats and he continued towards Hells Hollow. He worked his way out of the park. Actually found a local resident and that’s how we reconnected with Sergio,” said Jake Weiland, the assistant park manager.
Park rangers returned him to his family.
“I’m glad I’m okay,” Garnica told KDKA’s Amy Wadas after being reunited with his family.