Family, NE Ohio friends not giving up hope for skier missing in the Alps

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ORANGE VILLAGE, OH - It’s a race against time.

A frantic search is underway in the Swiss Alps for a missing skier with ties to Northeast Ohio.  Although official search and rescue efforts have been called off, his family is not giving up hope.

"I like to say he's the luckiest person I've ever met in my life, so if anyone could possibly survive this, it would be him," said Suzanne Fast, the missing man’s sister.

Fast says her 28-year old brother Harrison Fast loves adrenaline and the outdoors.  The family grew up in Moreland Hills, but moved to Colorado about 15 years ago.

On Saturday, Fast was with five friends in the Swiss Alps, speed flying, a combination of skiing and paragliding, when a surprise storm struck.  The others either made it out on their own, or were rescued. Harrison has not been found.

"The authorities did a lot and then they stopped and so we were able to continue and we're doing so now," his sister told Fox 8 from her home in Colorado.

After four air searches, Swiss authorities officially ended their efforts on Monday.

The Fast family hired their own rescue teams to look for him.  In fact, a cousin sent back a photo Tuesday after taking a helicopter tour of the area.

Harrison posted videos and pictures of his trip on social media days before he went missing.  Cell phone records and Harrison's friends were able to give searchers and idea where they were when the storm hit.

"We don't have as much manpower, so we're using the drones and the technology to look and also getting them there and back, and hopefully a rescue," said Suzanne Fast.

"They are a delightful, darling, close family and they're just turning over every stone they can to find this beloved young man," said Kathy Mulcahy.

Mulcahy, is a long-time family friend and mayor of Orange Village.

She says the family was well-known and well-liked here in Northeast Ohio even before they moved to Colorado.

"We're hoping that any of the remaining people that are still in Cleveland and still know them and remember them, will want to help in any way that they can...if they know anyone in Switzerland that might be near the location," Mulcahy said.

Harrison's sister says the support from the community has given them not only more resources to continue their search, but also more inspiration that he knows how to survive.

"He knows all these risks, but I don't know if you've seen the footage, it's the most beautiful place you've ever seen in your life," his sister said.

Harrison Fast is an engineer for a visual technologies company in Boulder called RealD.  The company paid to fly his mother, cousin and friend to Switzerland.

The helicopter tour Tuesday revealed that the search area is impossible to access by vehicle or on foot.

The family has set up a “YouCaring” fundraising page to help with the cost of the search efforts.

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