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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
The Port Alice pulp mill site is being ‘recycled’

Bankruptcy company is overseeing de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring.

Port Hardy Senior Citizens’ Society president Rosaline Glynn holds up the certificate from B.C. Premier John Horgan next to Loaves & Fishes director Peter Sinclair, vice president Kris Huddlestan, and Port Hardy mayor Dennis Dugas. (Submitted photo)
Port Hardy council to nominate Glynn for the Order of British Columbia

Glynn’s nomination was endorsed unanimously by council.

Emergency personnel crews on scene assisting BCEHS with patient care. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Speed and alcohol believed to be the cause of Saturday night car crash

More information on the crash could potentially be released at a later date.

Nootka Sound RCMP responded to a workplace fatality report south of Gold River on Monday morning. (Campbell River Mirror photo)
One dead in accident at Western Forest Product’s TFL 19 logging site in Gold River

The RCMP and Work Safe BC are investigating the incident

North Island Gazette file photo of Port Hardy council
Council discusses Highland Manor sale

Port Hardy council debates what approach to take to Highland Manor after sale.

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

One person is dead after a camper van caught fire Thursday morning in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
One person dead after vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park

Victoria firefighters were already extinguishing the fire when police arrived on scene

(Government of B.C.)
Chelsea Harry was last seen Feb. 21. Photo via Comox Valley RCMP
Vancouver Island RCMP seeking help locating a missing woman

Missing person last seen in Courtenay on Feb. 21

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

Most Read