Missing father, son cell phones last pinged Wed., search area now SE and SW of Echo Lake Campground

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. - The cell phones for a missing man and his son sent their last pings Wednesday near Echo Lake, according to Howard Paul with the Alpine Rescue Team.

Damian McManus, 51, and Evan McManus, 19, left on a camping trip last Wednesday, they haven't been heard from since.

Paul said cell phone data from the Air Force coordination center showed the last ping from one man's phone came at 3 p.m. Wednesday, the other man's phone last pinged at 7 p.m. Paul said officials don't know if the cell phone batteries died or if the phones were turned off.

Paul said the information has given teams a crude idea of where to search. Tuesday, the search was being concentrated southeast and southwest of Echo Lake campground.

Searchers were being ferried into the area using snowcats and snowmobiles. The searchers were using snowshoes and cross country skis in the search area because of the recent snow in the area. The search area is at high elevation - starting at 10,600 feet.

While searchers know the McManuses were in the area Wednesday, the cell phone information did not give officials any clues about which way the men went.

Paul said crews were expecting good weather Tuesday.

"I have also been informed that many local residents are assisting in the search," Tom Ritten wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to the missing men. "There are over 70 volunteer's [sic] aiding in the search today. This is good news."

The McManuses are from St. Louis Park, Minn.  They came to Colorado for a father-son Spring Break trip, friends said. The McManuses were due back on Sunday.

Damian McManus' wife and Evan's twin sister took a mother-daughter trip to Mexico and had just returned on Sunday. When they did not hear from the men on Sunday afternoon, they reported the pair missing.

Their vehicle was located Sunday near the entrance of the campground at Echo Lake.

There are about five trails from that trailhead, but searchers are unclear which trail they hiked. It's been snowing in the area so any tracks may have been covered up by the snow.

"We're just praying, just praying that they are safe and that they're gonna find them somewhere," said a family friend. "Damian has military experience. He's a planner so he wouldn't just go off on a hike without having some plan .. He's very resourceful. So we're just holding out hope that he's just got them stowed away somewhere just waiting to be found."

Echo Lake is 23 miles from Evergreen and 13 miles from Idaho Springs at the base of the Mount Evans Highway.

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