KAMLOOPS – A missing Washington State woman was found Saturday morning after spending a cold, dark night on the side of the mountain at the Sun Peaks Resort, while two sisters were found late Friday night.
Kamloops Search and Rescue search manager Alan Hobler says the woman, in her mid 40's, was found around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Hobler says the woman was skiing with her partner when they got separated. He managed to ski out, but she wasn’t able to. She sent him a text message. He went back to look for her but he couldn’t find her and called for help.
“She hunkered down for the night but she got really cold so she opted to try and hike out.”
The woman hiked up a very steep mountainside in the dark to stay warm.
An officer in the RCMP helicopter spotted her Saturday morning in the alpine. Search crews went in and rescued her.
Hobler says she was very tired when they got to her, “She is a very fit individual… I think that helped her a lot.”
Friday night around midnight, the volunteers found the two missing sisters who were reportedly skiing out of bounds earlier in the day.
Hobler says two, 17 and 23, made a call to a family member when they realized they were out of bounds and needed help. That was shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday.
Staff at Sun Peaks did a preliminary search in the hopes of picking up tracks or finding the sisters but no such luck.
Hobler says unfortunately after calling for help, they started moving and the RCMP couldn’t get a solid fix on their location using the GPS tracker on their cell phone.
“They just moved, and moved, and moved. They went all over the place,” Hobler says. He figures they travelled 14 km and ended up in a place searchers would never have thought of looking in a million years.
Plus it was windy, so their tracks were windswept and hard to see. An eagle-eyed search volunteer on a snow machine thought he saw what might have been a ski track, and acting on a hunch, followed it. He turned out to be right, and he found them.
Hobler says the sisters were completely exhausted.
“They were cold and I think they were emotionally exhausted as well.”
He advices to stay put if you get lost. If you have a cell phone, the RCMP can ‘ping’ it with their GPS tracking. While it may not pin point your exact location, it can give searchers a pretty good idea where your are.
These incidents come on the heels of three 14-year-old boys becoming lost out of bounds Monday. It took team members 14 hours to get to the boys and then get them back to safety.
The boys were dressed for cold weather and stayed put after making the call for help, allowing RCMP to ping their cell phone to pinpoint their location and team members to find them more quickly.
Hobler says it's unusual for the search and rescue team to get called out so often at Sun Peaks. He says 10 years ago they had a problem with skiers going out of bounds but over the last three years it hasn't been an issue. They get called maybe once or twice a year to the ski resort. He figures the 3 calls this last week are an anomaly.
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This story was updated at 7:09 p.m., Dec. 27, 2013 with information about the third missing skier.
This story was updated at 12:23 a.m., Dec. 28, 2013 with information on two found skiers.
This story was updated at 9:12 a.m., Dec. 28, 2013 with addition information on the missing female skier.
This story was updated at 10:25 a.m., Dec. 28, 2013 to add the missing female skier had been found.
This story was updated at 11:09 a.m., Dec. 28, 2013 to add details from Kamloops Search and Rescue.