Appalachian Trail: US hiker 'lost for 26 days before dying'

image copyrightMaine Game Warden Service
image captionPaperwork relating to the disappearance of Geraldine Largay was released by authorities in Maine on Wednesday

A hiker who got lost on a remote part of the Appalachian Trail in the US sent text messages appealing for help and kept a journal for 26 days before she died, newly released papers show.

Geraldine Largay, 66, went missing in 2013. Text messages to her husband were not sent because there was no signal.

She left a final note asking whoever found her body to call her husband and daughter to let them know she had died.

The 2,200-mile (3,540km) trail is a popular hiking route in the eastern US.

Ms Largay, from Tennessee, disappeared in western Maine in July 2013, The Boston Globe reports. Her body was not found until more than two years later, in October 2015.

Paperwork released by the Maine Game Warden Service shows that she had gone off the trail looking for a place to relieve herself and was unable to find her way back, the newspaper says.

She even tried hiking to higher ground in a failed attempt to get a mobile phone signal, but her desperate text messages sent to her husband went undelivered, the documents show.

Geraldine Largay's urgent pleas for help

  • "In somm trouble. Got off trail to go to br. Now lost. Can u call AMC to c if a trail maintainer can help me. Somewhere north of woods road. XOX" (Text message to her husband, 11:01, 22 July 2013)
  • "Lost since yesterday. Off trail 3 or 4 miles. Call police for what to do pls. XOX" (Text message to her husband, 16:18, 23 July 2013)
  • "When you find my body, please call my husband George and my daughter Kerry. It will be the greatest kindness for them to know that I am dead and where you found me - no matter how many years from now. Please find it in your heart to mail the contents of this bag to one of them." (Note torn out from her journal, 06 August 2013)

About 1,500 pages of documents relating to her case were released on Wednesday in response to Freedom of Information Act requests by several media organisations, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Mrs Largay set out on a three-day hike with a friend in July 2013.

Her friend turned back to deal with a family emergency, and Mrs Largay continued alone.

She failed to turn up at a pre-arranged meeting with her husband, who had been due to pick her up.

He reported her missing the next day and search parties were sent out.

image copyrightThinkstock
image captionThe trail in the east of the US goes through remote areas

The Boston Globe reports that some rescuers passed within 100yds (90m) of Mrs Largay but did not find her.

She died of starvation and exposure three weeks after the authorities had given up the search.

Mrs Largay's body was finally found by a forestry worker in October 2015 inside a collapsed tent, along with a paper map, a pencil and pen, some cord and twine, a first aid kit, baby powder, toothpaste, her mobile phone a journal and a set of rosary beads.

The land where she was found is owned by the US Navy and is used for survival and evasion courses.

She had tried to start a fire and had built a makeshift flag using a branch and some clothing in an attempt to attract attention.

The last activity on her mobile phone was on 6 August 2013, while the last entry in her journal was dated nearly two weeks later, on 18 August.

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