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Searchers find dead North Bend man

NORTH BEND - Fred Abbott, a 44-year-old North Bend man, was found dead last week on a remote road near Stampede Pass in Kittitas County.

Members of the Kittitas County Search and Rescue and U.S. Forest Service personnel found the body at about 2 p.m. on Jan. 8 - the second day of the search - covered by about a foot of snow, according to Kittitas County Sheriff's officials. Abbott's body was discovered about five miles from the Crystal Springs Sno-Park.

The North Bend resident was reported missing by his boss when he didn't show for work on Jan. 7, according to department officials. The death is being attributed to exposure.

According to officials, Abbott called his employer on Jan. 5 stating he was taking the day off to retrieve a snowmobile that had been stuck in snow during a trip the day before. He was going to hike to the snowmobile and pull it out with a tow rope, officials said. Rescuers have yet to find the snowmobile, but are expected to return to the high avalanche area to search for it when danger subsides, officials said.

Deputies found Abbott's truck and snowmobile trailer undisturbed in the Crystal Springs Sno-Park.

The discovery was one of three major incidents occurring this month.

Just days before finding Abbott's body, rescuers in King County found a 25-year-old skier from Ellensburg, missing four days, after he skied into unmarked territory at Alpental. The man, Dan Witkowski, said he stayed alive by walking for hours on end in an effort to stay warm.

Kittitas County rescuers were busy again Jan. 11 when they found nine Eastside snowmobilers stuck in unstable snow. The nine men were shaken but unharmed when discovered. The group was prepared for such an emergency and once stuck, decided to rest for the night. The group started a fire to keep warm and were found by rescuers about 11 a.m. the following day.

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