A remarkable story of survival is surfacing out of the mid-Island where a missing Chemainus woman has been found alive after 6 days lost in the wilderness.
67-year-old Irene Paquet vanished after taking a series of wrong turns and getting lost in the deep backcountry behind Chemainus that’s known as Copper Canyon. Disoriented and weak, after 6 days and five nights alone in the woods, she is now recovering in Nanaimo Hospital.
Irene Paquet’s daughters are in awe of what their 67 year old mother has just survived.
“We just think its a complete miracle. We’re just so thankful,” says Celeste Paquet.
After the 67 year old turned up alive Thursday, found by searchers, six days and five nights after vanishing in the backcountry behind Chemainus, known as Copper Canyon.
“I mean I’m amazed at her strength,” says her daughter Carrie Paquet. “I don’t know what she was doing out there for six days, I don’t know what she managed to do to keep herself going for six days. I have no idea and the thing is she doesn’t know either she doesn’t remember those days have gone and maybe that’s for the best.”
Her daughters say she has told them she took a wrong turn after grocery shopping and became trapped behind a logging road gate. So she kept driving trying to find her way out, only to get her car stuck 50 kilometres along the remote wilderness area.
“She says she hit a tree and she put her car into he ditch. She knows that much,” says Celeste Paquet.
She survived on the groceries she had bought before becoming lost and days passed with her worried family and friends looking everywhere for her in the meantime.
“Very traumatic, exhausting experience obviously,” says Celeste Paquet. “I can’t even imagine myself, being out there for six days, day and night, day and night.”
Irene Paquet was ultimately found Thursday when a dirt biker from Lake Cowichan spotted her vehicle and connected posts about a missing woman on Facebook to it, giving searchers a starting point to find her.
“I was expecting really bad news. Really bad news,” says Carrie Paquet.
Before RCMP service dog Boomer found her disoriented and weak, immobile after falling down a deep embankment.
“Awesome,” says Cpl. Krista Hobday of North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP. “How awesome was that. The likelihood after that many days given her medical condition and her age. Awesome.”
“Oh we’re so extremely thankful for the Ladysmith Search and Rescue, Cowichan Search and Rescue, Amateur radio was out, the RCMP, the police dogs,” says Celeste Paquet.
All contributing to what Paquet’s daughters call a miracle that their mother will be recovering from in Nanaimo hospital for several more days.