A 69-year-old Bellingham man who went missing while hiking rugged Rainbow Ridge in the Cascades on Saturday was found alive Tuesday morning, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
Albert Filosa was found by searchers about 11 a.m. in a “rough, challenging and potentially hazardous area,” the Sheriff’s Office said, and he appeared to be OK. No information on his condition or any injuries was available Tuesday.
Rescue crews spent the afternoon trying to reach him and remove him from the steep area of the ridge. It was unclear if he was injured, but he was able to communicate with searchers.
Filosa’s friend Will Ellender called 911 Saturday night after Filosa didn’t return from a hike to pick up a friend from the train station. He said Filosa hadn’t been able to find anyone to hike with him on Saturday, so he went up by himself, something he was comfortable with and had done many times before.
Search-and-rescue volunteers from Whatcom and Skagit counties started searching for Filosa at 7 a.m. Sunday. They searched the ridge and the surrounding area but were unable to locate him by nightfall.
The search continued Monday and Tuesday with several dog teams, searchers from Bellingham Mountain Rescue and helicopter assistance from Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
The area where Filosa was hiking is steep in spots, with several cliff hazards, some thick brush and overgrowth, and snow on much of the ridge.
Ellender was relieved to hear from the Sheriff’s Office that his friend had been found.
“I’m just completely elated,” Ellender said.
“After three nights up there, I was really starting to worry.”
Filosa moved to Bellingham a couple of years ago after retiring from The Philadelphia Orchestra, where he played violin for more than 30 years. Ellender said that one of the big factors that brought Filosa to Bellingham was the plentiful hiking.