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Now A Recovery Mission In The Search For Blakeslee

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By KIDK/KIFI

Craters of the Moon, Idaho ( KIDK / KIFI ) A rescue mission became a recovery mission Sunday. On Saturday, there were 70 searchers, today just 20. The big reason is weather.

Dr. JoDean Elliott Blakeslee is still missing at Craters of the Moon National Monument where searchers no longer think she's alive.
<"Given we've had a range of conditions. Everything from snow to rain to high wind. It really decreases the likelihood that she may still be alive."

Lori Iverson says the collective decision on JoDean Elliott Blakeslee's status was made today.

"That's a difficult thing to face, it's difficult for searchers and it's certainly difficult for the family," explains Iverson, US Fish and Wildlife Services.

Wind gusts up to 65 miles–per–hour kept helicopters grounded and search dogs limited in today's efforts, but the search is far from over.

Iverson says,"each group that goes out, whether it's a dog team or a ground crew, are given a GPS unit to take out."

Searchers carry GPS units to eliminate covering areas already searched.

"It also marks and clues that have been found. Any footprints, any flagging, any item that people find on the ground, and then those clues are also downloaded into the program," adds Iverson.

It's Craters of the Moon's many caves that are proving difficult.

She adds, "it's not just above ground that's complicated and you can get turned around in, it's below ground as well.

Gerald Dillman is with the caving organization Silver Sage Grotto. He says it would be easy to get lost in the caves, so he's been covering a lot of ground, underground.

Dillman explains, "I went through a whole set of knee pads yesterday alone. Elbow pads, it chews up. I wore a set of gloves, it wore the fingertips out of my gloves. It's just very sharp, it's very unforgiving."

The search and rescue team is anticipating these conditions to continue through Tuesday, so no word on when they'll get the helicopters back up again.

The search for Jo Elliott–Blakeslee and Amy Linkert began Tuesday.
Linkert's body was found Wednesday, but originally misidentified as Blakeslee's.



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