Teen hiker dies while hiking on Kenai Peninsula

a glacier on a cloudy day
The Harding Icefield Trail leaves from the Exit Glacier area outside of Seward. (Riley Board/KDLL)

A 15-year-old died in Kenai Fjords National Park Monday afternoon while hiking the Harding Icefield trail outside of Seward, according to park officials.

A statement from the national park says the young hiker needed emergency medical services and CPR about 3.7 miles into the trail. It says bystanders helped to provide CPR, and paramedics from a LifeMed helicopter attempted to resuscitate the hiker, but were unsuccessful, and he died on the trail of cardiac arrest.

According to the park, agencies including Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, the Bear Creek Fire Department, Seward Volunteer Ambulance Corps and LifeMed Alaska all responded.

The statement does not say why the hiker collapsed or needed CPR. Troopers said the body was transported to Soldotna, then released to the state medical examiner’s office, who will determine the cause and manner of death.

According to reporting from The Detroit News in Michigan, the hiker who died was from Farmington Hills, a suburb of Detroit. The story identifies him as 16-year-old Simon Mirkes, a participant in a month-and-a-half long summer camping trip in Alaska for Jewish families and children. It says the camp’s president and director sent a letter to parents, informing them that Mirkes collapsed and died during a hike.

The Detroit News reported that the other campers on the trip were being housed at a Jewish Center in Anchorage, and that additional counselors were flying out from Michigan to support the students.

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