Searchers step up Corcovado efforts to find Alaskan

Search teams have ramped up operations and are now working at all hours to find an American man, 27-year-old Cody Roman Dial, who was pronounced missing last week. Local Cruz Roja patrols are camping overnight in Parque Nacional Corcovado and police are using a helicopter to scan the area, according to rescue coordinator Gilberth Dondi.

Investigators are also going through nearby towns, like the main one, Puerto Jiménez, to post pictures of Dial and to interview locals who may have seen him.

“We have confirmed that Mr. Dial passed through the sector of Tigre, apparently on the 22nd,” said Dondi of the Cruz Roja via telephone Sunday. Dondi said a taxi driver recognized a picture of Dial and said he believed the Alaskan was in the area located just east of the national park and west of Puerto Jiménez as recently as last Tuesday.

An initial six-hour search Sunday by a crew of  the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea’s helicopter came up empty on any signs that could point officers towards Dial’s whereabouts.  The security ministry said that the crew used a high-power camera and overflew many of the park trails.

Dial’s father, Roman Dial, is now in Costa Rica and is helping to coordinate search efforts, Dondi said. The elder Dial is an accomplished explorer and biologist listed on National Geographic’s explorer program, which funds discovery projects and research across the world.

The Cruz Roja sent out a press release Saturday that Dial’s delayed departure from the park has their members worried that he could be injured. Dondi said that four Cruz Roja patrols, as well as teams from the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Mares and Fuerza Pública, are managing search efforts.  They are reportedly all well-equipped to handle the area’s rugged environment.

The Osa Peninsula and Corcovado are known for the impressive rainforest and large range of wildlife that National Geographic has called “The most biologically intense place on Earth.”

Among other animals, both jaguars and pumas are known to still inhabit the national park area.

Dondi added that the Anchorage native was confirmed to have checked out of a Puerto Jiménez hotel July 18. The last contact he had with relatives back home was through a later email he sent to his father, advising him that he would be kayaking through the park and possibly starting at Río Conte.

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