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Originally published Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 8:04 AM

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Tacoma hiker, 50, missing since Saturday is found

A Tacoma woman reported missing Monday morning after failing to return from a day hike into the Lake Ingalls area near Cle Elum, Kittitas County, was found alive Tuesday afternoon.

A Tacoma woman reported missing Monday morning after failing to return from a Saturday hike was found alive Tuesday afternoon.

Natalya Manko was being flown out of the area by helicopter, according to the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office.

"She is alert and able to walk," according to a sheriff's office statement.

Manko, 50, is being treated at Central Washington Hospital for minor frostbite and hypothermia, according to a news release from Clayton Myers, undersheriff for Kittitas County.

Manko said she must have traveled too far north and missed the lake, which is near Cle Elum in Kittitas County. By the time she realized she was in the wrong place, the release said, bad weather and darkness were already setting in. Manko spent two days trying to find her way out of the basin, but with the limited visibility and snow in the area, she couldn't find a trail, the release said.

She always returned to the same area and used a large red trash bag to keep her dry, the release said.

On Tuesday, the Chelan County Helicopter crew spotted her tracks on the north side of Stuart Pass, and followed them until they located her.

Manko left for the hike on Saturday, and is said to be in excellent physical condition.

On Saturday, the weather turned bad in the late afternoon, with dropping temperatures, rain and snow. Sunday, snow and rain continued in higher elevations.

Sheriff's deputies and search-and-rescue personnel began searching Monday. The search was temporarily called off Monday evening because of waist-deep snow and white-out conditions. The search resumed Tuesday morning.

"We credit the success of this to the many volunteers and law enforcement agencies (Snohomish County, King County and Chelan County) who support search and rescue in our region, with special thanks to the Chelan County Aviation and the Red Cross," the release said.

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