Missing Austrian hiker heads home after brief disappearance

A 23-year-old Austrian backpacker, whose disappearance near Whitehorse last week prompted a desperate plea for help from his mother on social media, is back home today.

A 23-year-old Austrian backpacker, whose disappearance near Whitehorse last week prompted a desperate plea for help from his mother on social media, is back home today.

Stefan Josef Petrakovits was supposed to board a flight on Aug. 7 after a two-week holiday in the territory, but he never made it to the Whitehorse airport that day.

When his mother, Elisabeth, hadn’t heard from him two days later, she turned to Facebook in an attempt to spread the word amongst Yukoners and find him.

“We are very concerned that he may have had an accident and needs help,” she wrote in a lengthy post on Aug. 9, which has been shared over 8,300 times.

According to her, Petrakovits was traveling alone and backpacking upstream along the Yukon River.

But it turns out her son “lost track of time and/or underestimated the distances in the wilderness” and missed his flight to Vancouver, said his cousin Veronika Haberler, who wrote to the News yesterday.

“He was planning the trip by himself – which was obviously not the best thing to do. All that counts now is that he wasn’t injured and that he is on his flight back home.”

Petrakovits arrived in Whitehorse on July 26 and had planned on going camping, fishing and hiking until Aug. 7, Elisabeth wrote in her Facebook post.

The last contact Petrakovits had with his parents was on July 27, when he called his father from a cellphone.

Whitehorse RCMP spokesperson Julia Fox said Petrakovits walked into the detachment on Monday morning to notify them he was safe. It remains unclear how Petrakovits found out about the search for him.

Haberler said she wanted to share her “appreciation and gratitude” to everyone who helped in the search for her cousin.

“My whole family, especially my auntie and uncle (Stefan’s parents) and his brother and sister are over the moon to have him back soon safe and sound,” she wrote.

Haberler said she was especially thankful to the RCMP in Whitehorse and Dawson City, the Austrian Embassy in Ottawa and the people at Dawson City River Hostel and The Caribou RV Park.

The search for Petrakovits came just a week after a 30-year-old Ontario hiker went missing in Kluane National Park.

The body of Yoichi Kubota, from Cambridge, Ont., was found on July 30 along the Canada Creek area.

Contact Myles Dolphin at


Just Posted

Car crashes through Whitehorse school fence

2 people taken to hospital, no kids hurt

Tagish dog rescue owner asks for court order to get rid of dogs to be put on hold

Shelley Cuthbert argued forcing her to get rid of all but two dogs would cause ‘irreparable harm’

Yukon College officially unveils new $3.59M Whitehorse learning space

Innovation Commons designed to let the sunlight in

No vacancy: Whitehorse family spends five months seeking housing

‘I didn’t think it would be this hard’

Bedbug situation in Whitehorse building becoming intolerable, resident says

Gabriel Smarch said he’s been dealing with bedbugs since he moved into his apartment 15 years ago

The week in Yukon mining

Goldcorp re-submits Coffee plans, Mount Nansen sale looms, Kudz Ze Kayah comments open

Painting the past: Kaska artist explores his childhood in new show

‘I used to say I painted and I carved. But now I say it’s through my ancestors.’

Rain and warm weather makes for interesting Carbon Hill race day

‘I guess we all start getting used to this crazy weather.’

Ice, ice, baby: scaling a frozen Yukon waterfall

‘There’s a really transformative affect with adventure’

Delegate blunt about proposed location of cannabis retail stores

‘Marijuana has had a stigma of being a bad thing’

What does the NDP need to gain power once again?

The party will need to do some soul searching before we head to the polls again

Yukon history is picture post card perfect

The most interesting gift I received at Christmas this year was the… Continue reading

Most Read