Lost in the dark and hypothermic, two hikers had to be escorted out of the North Shore backcountry overnight on Sunday.
The men set out on the long and difficult trail to Elsay Lake around 8 a.m. on Sunday but by late evening, had lost their way and wound up north of Mount Seymour near Runner Peak, according to Tim Jones, North Shore Rescue team leader.
To rescuers’ dismay, the subjects used most of their remaining cellphone batteries’ life calling and texting friends and family before finally calling 9-1-1 around 9 p.m. By then, because of poor cell reception and a language barrier, North Shore Rescue volunteers were only able to speak to the lost men briefly and gather little reliable information. The men spent their remaining battery life communicating with friends, Jones said.
Already facing a late start, rescuers encountered bad weather shortly after they set out. Teams fanned out over a wide area based on the conflicting information they were able to glean from the lost hikers. Rescuers fired parachute flares into the air to help locate the missing men.
By the time searchers found them at 3:30 a.m., the men were soaked and mildly hypothermic. Volunteers brought them dry clothes and warm fluids for the long hike back out, but the rescue subjects couldn’t make the trip in the running shoes they were wearing. A second resupply team was dispatched to bring in boots from NSR’s cache.
More than 24 hours after they set out, the lost hikers made it back to civilization around 10 a.m. Monday.
© Copyright 2013