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Missing Bellingham man’s body found near Mount Baker

Bellingham man Dale Hanson, 79, right, went missing around 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 12, 2017.
Bellingham man Dale Hanson, 79, right, went missing around 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 12, 2017. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

The body of a missing 79-year-old Bellingham man was found Friday morning off a mountain road north of Mount Baker.

The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office confirmed the identity Friday afternoon as Dale Hanson.

“Our hearts are broken to have to share that we did not get the news we were so hoping for,” Hanson's daughter, Lori Shearer wrote in a Facebook post. “Thank you to everyone who shared our posts, your prayers, texts/messages and to our family/friends and many we do not know that helped in the search. We love you dad.”

Hanson left his home Wednesday morning in his forest green 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 diesel pickup. He told his wife he would drive up Twin Lakes Road – a bumpy gravel road, running along sheer cliffs at times – to the Lone Jack Mine, Shearer said.

Hanson planned to swing by a ranger station in Glacier, where he would have learned that beyond the trailhead to Yellow Aster Butte, the higher elevations are still covered in snow.

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Bellingham man Dale Hanson, 79, went missing around 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 12, 2017. Hanson family Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

According to Shearer, the rangers there didn’t recall seeing her father at the station.

Hanson’s backup plan had been to go berry picking and he often went to Glacier Creek Road or to the Boulder Creek area east of Baker Lake, his daughter said.

Around 11 a.m. Friday authorities found the body by a pickup that crashed over a cliff off Twin Lakes Road, said Dr. Gary Goldfogel, the Whatcom County medical examiner.

Sheriff's officials said Hanson suffered significant trauma as a result of being ejected from the pickup.

The 4 ½-mile road Twin Lakes Road is rough and remote, and ends within 3 miles of the U.S.-Canada border. Sheriff’s deputies called for a mountain rescue team with ropes to help with the recovery.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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