A hiker who went missing in the Rogers Creek Trails was rescued early Wednesday morning, Jan. 20, after spending a cold few hours lost in the bush.
Alberni Valley Rescue Squad volunteers were called out to look for the hiker, who had gone missing from a larger group earlier in the afternoon Tuesday, Jan. 19 on a popular hiking trail on the outskirts of Port Alberni.
“Ten AVRS members responded and formed three teams to search the area, travelling along the river, within trails and via UTV (utility terrain vehicle),” AVRS search manager Dave Poulsen said.
The hiker was with a local group that accessed Rogers Creek Trail from behind West Coast General Hospital; the lone hiker had become separated from their group mid-afternoon, Poulsen said. “The subject’s hiking party attempted to return to the place they had last seen the subject, but were unsuccessful in locating them.”
Searchers finally reached the hiker at 4:15 a.m. Wednesday, suffering mild hypothermia but not in medical distress. They were evacuated in the UTV and transferred to an ambulance for assessment. “They were observed to be unprepared for emergency or travel in the area, and lacked appropriate food, water, clothing, communication and first aid supplies,” Poulsen said.
“The missing subject was found…in an area we have commonly located multiple subjects in the last eight months,” he added.
“We would like to remind the public to exercise caution in the Rogers Creek Trails area; there is heavy trail braiding and it is easy to become disoriented in changing light and weather.”
The number of hours spent dealing with searches in that area quickly add up, he said.
Better signage and updated trail maps would be “a good start” for lessening the number of hikers that get into trouble in the Rogers Creek trails, said Poulsen.
Each search takes a bare minimum of four to five hours, and an average crew including a command post is a dozen searchers: six to eight in the field and four acting as command and administration.
This is the second search AVRS has been on in a week. On Sunday, AVRS volunteers conducted a rope rescue of three hikers caught in a deep gully on Mount Arrowsmith. Two were seriously injured and were airlifted to hospital via Cormorant helicopter by 442 Search and Rescue Squadron from 19 Wing Comox.
For those thinking of heading outdoors for an adventure, Poulsen recommends doing some research on the BC AdventureSmart website first. AdventureSmart has training, trip planning and lists of essential equipment and knowledge for outdoor adventures of all descriptions—“all necessary anytime you adventure outside,” he said.
“No one expects to be in trouble outdoors, but planning and safety can be the difference between making it home or becoming a statistic.”
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