‘Pretty miraculous’: Man missing in Oregon wilderness for 17 nights found alive

Searchers exit helicopter after locating Harry Burleigh. (Photo: Douglas County Sheriff's Office)

A fisherman was found alive 17 nights after being reported missing in Oregon’s wilderness. 

Harry Burleigh, 69, was reported missing May 7, after he didn’t return home from a camping trip in the Toketee area of the Umpqua National Forest, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. 

Rescue teams located his vehicle at a trail that leads into Twin Lakes on May 8, but did not find him.

Police believe Burleigh, who lives in Roseburg, attempted to go fishing before heading home. 

His wife, Stacy, posted updates about the search for her husband in a public group on Facebook, and said 40 volunteers from several counties volunteered on May 10 in the rescue mission. 

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Officials continued to search for him to no avail, when, on May 16, they found a makeshift shelter and his tackle box. 

“They left him a note and lighter and told him to make a fire and they would be back in to get him tomorrow,” Stacy wrote on Facebook.  

Another week passed with no sign of Burleigh. Then, rescuers found another makeshift shelter on May 23. They called out to Burleigh and he responded. He was found walking and complaining of minor pain, but was in stable condition, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.  

A helicopter transported him to a hospital for an evaluation. His wife posted she had spoken with him that evening and he was coherent and emotional. She thanked everyone for their prayers and said she would be with him soon:

“The best of news, Harry was found alive today … this is pretty miraculous!”

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Brad O’Dell said in a press release on Sunday that Burleigh had been reunited with his family.

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