Public asked to avoid area of Blue Ridge Parkway as rescue crews search for missing hiker

(Chad Seger, of Asheville, was last known to have been in the Black Balsam area of Pisgah National Forest on Monday, Oct 12. (Photo courtesy of Haywood County Sheriff’s Office)

Rescue crews in Haywood County, N.C. are asking people to avoid a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway as they search for a hiker that was reported missing on Friday, October 16. 

Chad Seger, 27, of Asheville, was last heard from on Monday, October 12, when he spoke briefly with a family member. His car was located Friday at the Black Balsam parking lot off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Emergency Management officials are asking the public to avoid the Black Balsam area from Highway 276 and 215 as crews search for Seger. “We are handing out his picture to everyone that [we] see,” Director of Haywood County Emergency Services Greg Shuping told ABC 13 News.

Seger is an experienced hiker and is familiar with the Black Balsam and Shining Rock Wilderness area. Still, the terrain is described as some of the most dangerous in Pisgah National Forest. “[There’s] a lot of elevation gain and descending inside those areas, a lot of cliffs and dangerous areas that we are searching to locate Mr. Seger,” Shuping told ABC 13.

The missing hiker is described as physically fit and may have some hiking and camping gear with him, authorities say. He is a Marine veteran suffering from severe paranoia and does not have his medication. Seger has mental health issues and is suicidal. His phone was last pinged at Johns Rock Overlook.

Anyone with information about the missing hiker is asked to contact the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at 828-452-6666.

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