Crews recover body of hiker, 23, who was attempting to summit Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

Lucas Macaj missing Rocky Mountain National Park
Longs Peak Cirque Courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park
Posted at 9:37 PM, May 16, 2024

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK — The body of a Colorado Springs man who was attempting to summit Longs Peak was recovered on Thursday, Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) officials announced.

U.S. Space Force Sgt. Lucas Macaj, 23, of Colorado Springs was reported overdue late Sunday night after attempting to summit Longs Peak via the Keyhole Route Sunday. Rangers found his vehicle early Monday morning still parked at the Longs Peak Trailhead, according to RMNP officials.

Macaj was last heard from around 1 p.m. Sunday when he texted a friend indicating that he was on the summit of Longs Peak, officials said. Significant storms moved through high elevations in the park Sunday afternoon.

His body was recovered Thursday on Mills Glacier near the base of Lamb's Slide. Initial investigations indicate he took a significant fall, but the Boulder County Coroner's Office will release his cause of death following an autopsy, according to RMNP. Following an on-scene investigation, his body was flown to a landing zone in the national park and transferred to the coroner's office.

Search efforts began Monday and included air reconnaissance, ground teams and dog teams. Several agencies and organizations assisted the RMNP Search and Rescue Team, including the Colorado Army National Guard, Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States and the Colorado Search and Rescue Association.

Macaj was a space operator for the 8th Combat Training Squadron, part of Space Delta 8 headquartered at Schriever Space Force Base outside Colorado Springs.

“Space Delta 8 is a family and we have lost one of our own,” said Col. David A. Pheasant, Space Delta 8 commander, in a statement. “I extend my deepest personal condolences to family, friends and teammates who will be grieving through their loss. We will make every effort to ensure those within our team grieving this loss have full access to the trained helping agencies available.”

According to the U.S. Space Force, Macaj joined the branch in August 2023 as an interservice transfer from the U.S. Marine Corps. He was awarded the Air and Space Longevity Service Award during his time with the Space Force.

Crews recover body of hiker who was attempting to summit Longs Peak in RMNP

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