Searchers on Friday found the body of an American man who had been missing in the rugged mountains in central Mexico since going on a hike four days ago. A search and rescue group for Morelos state said a search team found the lifeless body of 25-year-old Hari Simran Singh Khalsa.
He was found in one of the narrow gorges or ravines that crisscross the rugged mountains in the colonial town of Tepoztlan, not far from where he was last seen in a picture of himself that he sent by cellphone. Khalsa’s family and friends said in a statement that he apparently died from a fall.
“He appears to have fallen while hiking and sustained a fatal injury to the head,” the statement said, as reported by USA Today.
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City also confirmed the death. It said it was offering consular support to Khalsa’s family, and extended the U.S. government’s condolences. While helicopters and hundreds of police and rescue workers combed the craggy mountains and cliffs around Tepoztlan this week, it appears Khalsa never went very far. The body was in the same wooded area, but the terrain is very rough and dangerous.
The search began Tuesday after Khalsa didn’t return from going on a hike in Tepoztlan, about an hour south of Mexico City, with only a T-shirt, shorts, and little food and water, said his wife, Ad Purkh Kaur. Kaur said Friday that her husband was a yoga instructor born and raised in Brooklyn. The couple have been living in Leesburg, Virginia, but were planning to move back to Brooklyn at the end of the month. Kaur, whose legal name is Emily Smith, said she and her husband arrived in Tepoztlan for a yoga retreat on December 26. Tepoztlan is a frequent weekend getaway for Mexico City residents, and is known for the towering, whimsically shaped cliffs and mountain peaks that tower over the colonial town on the valley floor
Kaur said she heard from her husband at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, when he sent a picture of himself on a mountain top pointing to the site of the yoga retreat, with the message, “Looking down on you!”
She last heard from him about two hours after that, when he sent a text message.
“I accidentally summited another mountain,” he wrote. “Looks like I’ll be a little later coming back. Save me some lunch if you can.”
According to the Huffington Post, Kaur said her husband was an experienced hiker who was just getting into back country hiking, though she said he didn’t have much survival training as far as she knew.
“He hasn’t done a lot of overnight hikes, or a lot of back country hikes,” she said before his body was found. “He has gone on accidental overnight hikes before and had to come down the next day. He’s very adventurous and strong and smart and capable.”
Read about another missing American in Mexico in a report by the Inquisitr and the circumstances of that case.