By Rebekah Riess, Leslie Perrot and Hollie Silverman, CNN
Rescuers searching for a missing hiker in Colorado found him dead after an apparent fall Monday, officials said.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Eells who so clearly was in the prime of his life,” Sheriff Bill Masters said.
Telluride, about 330 miles southwest of Denver, is a former mining town turned ski destination in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The area boasts dozens of hiking trails and other outdoor recreations, which attract outdoor enthusiasts.
Officials said Eells was hiking alone on the Dallas-Gilpin ridge about 3.5 miles north of Telluride.
He was reported missing around 11 p.m. local time Sunday, prompting the sheriff’s office to launch a search mission early Monday.
About a dozen deputies and search and rescue crew members used multiple aircraft during the search, the sheriff’s office said.
Crews began the recovery mission after his body was located around 2 p.m. local time Monday.
People were asked to stay out of the area until the mission was completed.
“We are fortunate to have the expertise and resources available with our staff, volunteers, and regional partners to safely and efficiently accomplish a very difficult and technical mission today,” Sheriff Masters said in a tweet. “We were all hoping for a better outcome, and again, our condolences to Mr. Eells’ family.”