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Oregon Sheriff: Mt Hood Search Now A "Recovery Effort"

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The search to find two missing climbers alive on Mount Hood is over and it has now become a "recovery effort," Sheriff Joe Wampler said Wednesday.

"We've done everything we can at this point," Wampler said.

He made the remarks after personally piloting a Piper Cub over the 11,239-foot mountain for new clues. He found none.

His decision ends a dramatic nine-day search for three climbers who went missing on Mount Hood on Dec. 11.

One of three - Kelly James - was pulled out of a snow cave on Monday. For three days, the volunteers and helicopters scoured the mountain in hopes of locating signs of James' mountaineering partners - Brian Hall and Jerry "Nikko" Cooke.

But Wampler said searchers have given up hope of finding them alive.

Even before Wampler spoke, all of the volunteers had returned to their normal lives and helicopters used in the search had returned to their bases.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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