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Brother of Senator Mark Udall missing in Wyoming

DENVER (Reuters) - Aerial and ground crews searched the rugged mountains of western Wyoming for the younger brother of U.S. Senator Mark Udall who was overdue from a week-long back-country hike, authorities said on Monday.

James "Randy" Udall, 61, was on a solo hike in the Wind River Range mountains in late June but failed to return, according to the Sublette County Sheriff's Office.

"Mr. Udall was reported overdue on Friday, June 28, two days after his planned exit from the back country," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "Search operations began on the afternoon of the 28th and have continued extensively."

James Udall, who lives in Carbondale, Colorado, is an experienced outdoorsman who has hiked in the area many times, the sheriff's office said.

Mark Udall's Senate office issued a statement, saying the Colorado Democrat and his family "hope for the best" for his brother.

The Udall brothers are the sons of Morris "Mo" Udall, the former U.S. congressman who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976. He died in 1998.

Rescue teams from several local, state and federal agencies are searching for James Udall. Helicopter crews from the Wyoming Air National Guard and a private contractor are making aerial sweeps of the vast area.

The Wind River Range encompasses 2.25-million acres and stretches for more than 100 miles, according to the Pinedale, Wyoming Travel & Tourism Commission.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Bill Trott)

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