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Officials suspend search for men missing during treasure hunt

By Scott Thompson, CNN
  • The men were looking for the legendary Lost Dutchman Gold Mine
  • Sheriff: The men had very little hiking experience
  • They were last seen on July 6
  • The search spanned seven days

(CNN) -- An official search for three missing Utah men who went looking for the legendary Lost Dutchman Gold Mine was suspended Monday with no word on what happened to them, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in Arizona said.

The men, ages 49 to 66, apparently entered the wilderness two weeks ago on a quest for gold associated with the mine in the Superstition Mountains, east of Phoenix.

The sheriff's office said the men had very little water and hiking experience. Two of the three hikers had reported medical conditions.

"Our experience is leading us to believe that these men succumbed to the summer heat. However, we must consider all possibilities and that they could be alive and located somewhere other than the Superstition Mountains," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

The three men were last seen on July 6 after telling their family members that they would return no later than July 10.

Their vehicle was discovered on a trail on July 11.

The search spanned seven days, 96 square miles and consisted of 99 search-and-rescue missions, utilizing 311 volunteers and approximately 40 deputies, the sheriff's office said.

Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft also assisted.

Despite the suspension of the search, the sheriff's office still requests the public's help in locating the three men.