LSR members were assisted by North Shore Search and Rescue to extract a hiker who got lost in extreme winter conditions. (Faye Hjort photo)

LSR members were assisted by North Shore Search and Rescue to extract a hiker who got lost in extreme winter conditions. (Faye Hjort photo)

Ladysmith Search and Rescue saves poorly equipped hiker lost overnight

North Shore Search and Rescue responded with a helicopter to safely extract the hiker

Ladysmith Search and Rescue (LSR) was activated early Sunday (Feb. 14) morning to search for a woman who was lost in the wilderness in the Timberlands and Cassidy area.

The call came in at around 4:45 a.m., a team of seven LSR members responded and began searching the area. The hiker’s vehicle was found at Rondalyn Campground on Timberlands Road by the Ladysmith RCMP at around midnight. An employee at Rondalyn said that the hiker’s car had been parked there since at least 1 p.m. on Saturday.

RELATED: B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

“Nobody knew where she went. We had a huge area to search and find where she was. There were no tracks in the snow by the time we got there,” LSR Search Manager Tim Chadwick said.

The hiker’s phone had just enough life left in it to contact the RCMP, and make periodic calls to LSR. Chadwick said that the hiker was in a confused state on the phone, and her phone would die midway through calls.

She had walked from Rondalyn campground up to the gas plant on Timberland’s road. Employees from the gas plant confirmed that they had seen the hiker pass on Saturday, and pointed LSR members in the direction she went. It took LSR members 90 minutes to find the missing hiker.

When LSR members found her, she was laying in the snow on top of a sweater she had brought with her. She was suffering from hypothermia, and could not walk any further. Chadwick said she was not dressed appropriately for the conditions, she wore a pair of Ugg boots, and had a couple of sweaters with her.

As LSR members searched for the missing hiker, Chadwick put in a request to the Emergency Coordination Centre for helicopter extraction. Members of North Shore Search and Rescue responded to the call for mutual aid with the NSR Talon Helicopter AS 365 hoist team, an ER doctor, and cardiac anesthesiologist. A hoist tech and ER doctor were lowered to the subject and she was packaged and hoisted back up and transferred to BCEHS at the Nanaimo Airport.

RELATED: B.C. search and rescue groups responded to 700 calls in first half of 2020

Without the helicopter, the hiker would have to be carried on a stretcher for 90 minutes by LSR members. Chadwick was concerned that the weather may have prevented NSR from crossing the Georgia Strait, so as a contingency, he contacted the Mid Island Sno Blazers snowmobile club to aid in the rescue effort. Luckily, NSR was able to fly safely to the location and extract the hiker.

“Bouncing and jarring is not good for a hypothermic patient. It could put them in a cardiac arrest,” Chadwick said. “The best way out was the helicopter — it was the fastest and the safest.”

The Mid Island Sno Blazers did transport LSR members back down, saving them another 90 minute hike.

Although the outcome was a good one, Chadwick reinforced the message that hikers should always let people know where they are going, dress appropriately for the weather, bring supplies like food and water, and make sure that cell phones are charged before heading out on the trails.

Just Posted

Port Alberni Fire Dept. deputy chief Wes Patterson, right, and another firefighter monitor the front of a garage at Second Avenue and Argyle Street that burned on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Fire starts in empty garage on Argyle Street in Port Alberni

Garage was attached to empty multi-storey commercial building

Rob Mah was just 20 when he hosted Strictly Jazz, a radio show on CJAV radio in Port Alberni, B.C. A fan of the Big Band era of music, he spun a lot of Dixieland jazz on his show. (PHOTO COURTESY MAH FAMILY)
QUINN’S QUIPS: Radio station’s 75th brings memories to Mah family

Celebrating the late Rob Mah’s victories timely for national Asian heritage month

Ken Rutherford, left, and Rick Lord of Port Alberni receive honours from the National Model Railroad Association—Pacific Northwest Region for 40 years of dedication to the preservation and presentation of railroad history. (PHOTO COURTESY PHYLLIS RUTHERFORD)
Model railroaders from Port Alberni honoured for rail preservation

Ken Rutherford and Rick Lord put on annual model railroad meet in Nanaimo for 35 years

Former Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ associate coach Brandon Shaw has been named head coach of the Coquitlam Express, also of the B.C. Hockey League. The announcement was made May 12, 2021. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
BCHL’s Coquitlam Express hire new head coach

Brandon Shaw leaves Alberni Valley Bulldogs for bench boss job

The Alberni Golf Club is located on Cherry Creek Road. FILE PHOTO
ALBERNI GOLF: Men’s club tees up for Mother’s Day

Next Sunday, May 16 will be the Stableford competition

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

A nurse asks screening questions at an immunization appointment in Nanaimo earlier this year. (Shawn Wagar/Island Health photo)
Island Health appreciates nurses answering the call in challenging times

Health authority draws attention to National Nursing Week

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Could Victoria skull fragment bring closure to an Island missing persons mystery?

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

Most Read