German police, rescue canine and drones are scouring the Bavarian Alps for a 32-year-old Manitoba man who went lacking throughout a hike 15 days in the past.
On July 30, Jeff Freiheit, a faculty trainer from Brandon, Man., set off for a month-long journey from Munich, Germany to Venice, Italy. His pal, Chris Kennedy, mentioned he was getting ready for the hike for months.
Kennedy known as Freiheit an avid hiker, having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu and Everest’s base camp up to now. The Der Traumpfad trek is a well-known European expedition and it’s described as one thing a mean hiker can accomplish.
“He was coaching for this earlier than he left, doing 30 kilometres a day hikes,” Kennedy mentioned. “He’s an ideal athlete, a college basketball participant. No one was frightened as a result of we knew he might do that.”
On Aug. 1, Freiheit spoke along with his spouse, Selena, on FaceTime, when he was in Bad Tölz, a small German city which acts as a gateway to the Alps. The following day, he posted a video on Instagram giving an replace on his trek.
“Day three, it’s been morning thus far … simply to provide you an concept of what the following three hours entails, right here we go,” Freiheit mentioned. He then reveals the ascent he was about to make on the Brauneck mountain, which he mentioned is 650 metres excessive and round 2.5 kilometres in size.
“Wish me luck, it is going to be a variety of enjoyable,” he added.
Hours later, and out of breath — and smiling — Freiheit movies himself on high of the mountain.
But after that, all communication with Freiheit got here to a cease and he has not been heard from since. He additionally didn’t arrive on the in a single day stops he booked forward of time.
“He had a strict itinerary, so it’s a giant concern as a result of he had the entire month deliberate. There is not any rational purpose why he would go off that plan,” Kenedy mentioned.
The search operation
Last week, Selena and Freiheit’s mom, Kathy, flew to Germany to assist with the search. Selena even launched a volunteer search social gathering on Facebook.
According to Kennedy, teams of volunteers have been serving to search every single day.
“I believe it hits house to lots of people, as many individuals have accomplished this hike earlier than and it might occur to anybody,” he mentioned.
Since Freiheit’s disappearance, a large-scale police and mountain mission has been ongoing within the Alps. It contains police, mountain search crews, helicopters, canine and drones — all trying to discover any hint of the Manitoban.
On Friday, rescuers had been looking part of the mountain that’s “very rugged, with ditches and parlty closely overgrown with dense mountain pines,” one of many search social gathering members, Sylvia Frei advised a native German media outlet, including that discovering an individual or a clue within the space is “extraordinarily troublesome.”
“Although there may be nonetheless an absence of essential proof, this space holds the best threat potential of the day’s stage of the lacking particular person and might be thought of from the terrain more than likely,” Freiheit mentioned.
Yesterday, Selena posted on Facebook a few potential lead investigators are trying into.
“At this level within the seek for Jeff, we must be capable to slender down his attainable location to a really particular spot. The ONLY manner we are able to do that’s by key witnesses with detailed accounts of the place they could have seen him final,” Selena wrote on Facebook.
“We obtained a tip that two ladies helped an English man (who might or might not have been Jeff) on this grocery story in Jachenau. We want this message to search out it’s strategy to these two ladies who may need seen him on August third. “
Friends of Freiheit have organized a GoFundMe marketing campaign to assist the household with journey bills and the hiring of personal search events. As of Friday afternoon, it had raised greater than $35,000.
‘I simply need Jeff again’
Selena and Freiheit’s mom, Kathy, are at the moment within the German city the place he was final seen, making an attempt to speak to many individuals as attainable and seek for clues about this disappearance.
She advised a German media outlet that giving up hope is just not an choice, and he or she has to “keep sturdy.”
“I’m engaged on autopilot proper now. I simply need Jeff again,” she mentioned.
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