By Mary O’KEEFE
For over a week, search and rescue teams from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. have been covering hundreds of miles of Angeles National Forest on foot, horseback, off-road vehicles and by air, all in search of missing hiker Ertug Ergun.
Ergun, 33, is from Turkey but has lived in Bakersfield for about two years. He works for Incremental Oil and Gas Limited as an engineer. He was reported missing by his boss, Jerry McGann, on June 20 when he did not return to work after the weekend.
“He was a private guy,” McGann said. “On Sundays he would wander off by himself. He would never tell anyone where he was going.”
Ergun had served in the military in Turkey, he added.
McGann had stopped by the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station on Tuesday to thank search and rescue members for their dedication in searching for Ergun.
“I wanted to shake the hands of these [search and rescue members] and to thank them for all they have done,” he said.
McGann said he had first hired Ergun for his job in Turkey seven years ago. He worked for the company for five years in Turkey, then two years in Bakersfield.
When he didn’t turn up for work, McGann said he began checking hospitals and then reported him as a missing person to the Bakersfield Police.
“I don’t know why he came [to the Angeles National Forest], so far away,” McGann said.
Although a body was discovered in the Angeles National Forest in the area where Ergun was thought to have been hiking, the Los Angeles Coroner’s office has not released any information as to the identity.
McGann said he has been in touch with Ergun’s family in Turkey. They have been following the stories of the search.
This is the second visit to the search and rescue teams by someone connected to Ergun. On Friday, Consul General of Turkey Aydin Topcu came to the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station to meet with Capt. David Silversparre and to thank him for his agencies’ help in the search for Ergun.
Topcu then traveled to the Stonyvale Picnic Area to meet with Montrose Search and Rescue and Sierra Madre team members as they searched for the missing hiker.
“I am grateful for all that they have done,” Topcu said.
Two members of the Sierra Vista team, Barbara Fortini and Taison Tran, had just arrived in the area after rappelling from LASD Air 5 into a canyon. They had arrived after an 8.7-mile hike, searching another path Ergun may have taken.
“The trail really needs repair after the fire,” Fortini said. “The brush is really thick.”
Montrose Search and Rescue members went over a map that showed where they had already searched and where they planned to search again.
Topcu again thanked them for all the hours they had spent searching in the rugged terrain.
“I don’t know Ergun personally, but I am in touch with his family,” Topcu said.
He was keeping them informed of the search effort.