Lake Tahoe hiker found dead

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. Jerome Smith was found at about noon by a search team near the shore of Eagle Lake, located about a mile from the campsite where he and his companion had spent the week, said Lt. Les Lovell of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department.

"It looks like he fell trying to get some help for his friend," Lovell said.

Smith's hiking companion, 70-year-old Thomas Hylton, was found dead of natural causes on Friday at their campsite about a mile south of Eagle Lake. Eagle Lake is just west of Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay in the Desolation Wilderness Area, which is only accessible by foot.

More than 50 people from local, state and federal agencies combed the steep alpine terrain on foot, horseback and by helicopter on Friday and Saturday searching for the two hikers, said Sgt. Don Atkinson of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department.

A helicopter spotted the campsite Friday. Searchers believe Smith, who left his backpack at the campsite, became lost while trying to get help for Hylton. Both men are from Lincoln.

The men had been camping in the area since Monday and were scheduled to return home Thursday, Atkinson said.


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