NANAIMO — It was a long and wet night in the woods for a pair of lost Nanaimo hikers who relied on a large search party to get them back to civilization.
Nanaimo Search and Rescue (NSAR) president Carly Trobridge told NanaimoNewsNOW the man and woman got lost in the Ammonite Falls area after venturing into the park from the Jameson Rd. trailhead on Wednesday evening.
She said the duo veered off the main path and went uphill a fair distance away. She said the hikers zig-zagged along trails in the woods, winding up deep in the bush above ridges on the side of Mt. Benson in the general area of Northwood Rd.
“They had been wandering for approximately two hours prior to placing the call to the RCMP for assistance,” Trobridge said. “The RCMP then contacted us and we were called out at 9:30 p.m.”
Trobridge, who responded to the call, said the hikers were found at 11:00 p.m., thanks to cell phone coordinates which helped narrow the search area.
“The rain was fairly heavy at times, they were wet and cold, but otherwise uninjured, and pretty grateful to be walked out by our team,” she said.
Trobridge said the pair were escorted back to their vehicle at about 2:00 a.m.
The hikers, a man and his aunt, are believed to be from Nanaimo, according to RCMP Cst. Derek Balderston, who was also involved in the search. He said 28 NSAR members, backed by three RCMP officers, were tasked with finding the hikers.
Trobridge noted the hikers were somewhat familiar with the area and moderately prepared for an unexpected several-hour stint in the bush.
NSAR crews have responded to 11 calls this year, 10 involving lost hikers, according to Trobridge. She said that more than doubles the five call-outs for their members by this time last year.
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