After spending hours astray in the cold on Mount Hays, two off-track hikers were led to safety by a team of responders.
The Prince Rupert RCMP received a call from an individual who said he and a friend became lost while hiking on the mountain shortly before 5 p.m. on Nov. 15.
Cpl. Dave Tyreman, North District RCMP spokesperson, said the individuals weren’t prepared to spend the night. At the time, the temperature was -1 degree Celsius and the hikers didn’t have adequate clothing, food or water.
GPS coordinates showed the individuals were located on the cut for the old ski hill and under the old line for the gondola.
But the dirt road leading up Mount Hays was heavily washed out, preventing the use of vehicles in the search. The Provincial Emergency Program was immediately activated.
An extensive search was conducted by Prince Rupert Ground Search and Rescue (SAR), members of the Prince Rupert RCMP and the Prince Rupert Fire Department, searching both on foot and on ATVs.
“Using tracking, light and sound search techniques, the hikers were located safely in dark and rugged terrain,” reads a post on the Prince Rupert Search and Rescue Facebook page.
The off-track mountaineers were found shortly before 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 16.
“After assessing the hikers, the team scouted a safe exit. They were greeted by RCMP, ambulance and friends,” the SAR Facebook post stated.
RCMP are recognizing the dispatcher who answered the call, with Tyreman saying the dispatcher was key in the successful conclusion of the incident.
“The operational communications operator received the original call and stayed in constant contact with the stranded hikers until they were rescued, more than eight hours later,” he said, adding the dispatcher relayed information between the hikers, RCMP and SAR members to keep them continually updated.