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Beaverton hiker's body located north of the Bonneville Dam

COURTESY KOIN 6 - Melvin Burtch, 31, of Beaverton was hiking in the Columbia River Gorge when he reportedly fell to his death. The body of a missing Beaverton man was located at the base of Table Mountain. Melvin Burtch, 31, was hiking in Skamania County north of the Bonneville Dam.

Skamania County Sheriff’s Office reported that Burtch fell about 700 vertical feet from the summit and his body was found Wednesday morning just north of the Bonneville Dam.

Burtch, an experienced hiker, was hiking on Tuesday in the Columbia River Gorge with two dogs that belonged to a friend. The 15-mile round-trip hike to the summit of Table Mountain is described as difficult and weather conditions made it more hazardous.

The last communication Burtch had was with the dogs’ owner at about 2 p.m. Tuesday when he sent her a photo from his cellphone from the top of the mountain. Search and rescue crews began a search for Burtch Wednesday morning responding to concerns by the dogs’ owner.

The dogs were found safe by an employee of a nearby business.

Search and rescue crews located Burtch’s body using transmissions from his phone, which was found just about 50 feet away from his body.

Recovery efforts began today (Thursday) at 8:30 a.m.

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