Search and rescue crews braved heavy fog and stormy weather to save a pair of hikers stranded on a Comox Valley mountainside Sunday. Searchers say the weather turned on the two before they could get back to camp, sparking a major effort to find them before the weather got even worse.Skye Ryan reports.
With a 15-year-old girl and her 37-year-old uncle lost in the fog atop Mount Albert Edward Sunday and conditions worsening by the hour, volunteers with Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue were lining up to help.
“They’re going to have a couple of hours hike before they can get up to them,” said Search Manager Paul Berry with Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue. “In the meantime, they’re hunkered down in the trees trying to stay as warm as they can,” said Berry.
The two were hiking the popular but rugged backcountry near Mount Washington, camping at Circlet Lake when they lost their way in the fog that swept in with the wind and rain that impacted communities right across Vancouver Island Sunday. It was the first fall weather of the year and it took many off guard. Before the hikers could get back out to their camp and off the mountain, as they were planning Sunday they became stranded in the deteriorating weather that was even was getting even worse as searchers ventured out looking for them.
“So we know on the mountain very, very foggy conditions,” said Berry. “Higher winds and winds predicted to pick up, later on, today and the freezing level coming down potentially even snow later on today.”
Fortunately, searchers were able to get the hikers exact location from coordinates attached to a text message sent by cell phone. By mid-afternoon Sunday, command received confirmation their team dropped in by helicopter had reached the stranded hikers and were working on extraction.