SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The search for a Chicago doctoral student who went missing in a Costa Rican park is getting help from hundreds of people online, friends say.
The friends created a Facebook page for the student a week ago, and since then, nearly 1,100 have logged on to raise money, share information and pressure U.S. officials to help, the Chicago Tribune said.
David Gimelfarb, 28, a Chicago resident and third-year doctoral student was walking alone through the 35,000-acre Rincon de la Vieja national park when he disappeared Aug. 11, the Tribune said. After Gimelfarb's abandoned vehicle was found, his parents flew to the area to organize local authorities and the Red Cross in a search.
After the student's mother, Luda Gimelfarb, criticized the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica for not lending air support and infrared equipment, supporters made numerous calls and e-mails. The embassy relented finally and offered help, the Tribune said.
The newspaper said U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., arranged for two U.S. military helicopters with infrared sensors to begin searching for Gimelfarb. Kirk downplayed the impact of the online outcry, the Tribune said: "It's particularly appropriate for the U.S. military to provide support in this kind of a search. We have a lone American under deep jungle canopy. Time is of the essence."