El Paso Father And Son Missing In the Gila

Silver City – State police search and rescue teams still are looking for a father and son from El Paso who didn't return when expected from a five-day hiking trip in the Gila Cliff Dwellings area of southwestern New Mexico.

The area was hit by a winter storm Dec. 30, three days after 55-year-old Robert Fritz and his 15-year-old son, Austin, began their backpacking trip.

Search and rescue commander Marc Levesque says the El Paso residents were due back Friday night or Saturday. They did not leave an itinerary. Authorities say the father and son had a tent, sleeping bags, ground pads and food for five days.

The search was launched Sunday after a family member called authorities. Searchers remained in the field Monday night with a plane and helicopter looking for any campfires.

State Police Lt. Eric Garcia says more teams plan to help with the search Tuesday, including a National Guard helicopter crew.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.