Vernon RCMP spend 3 days looking for hiker who wasn't lost | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon RCMP spend 3 days looking for hiker who wasn't lost

June 24, 2020 - 2:05 PM

RCMP officers, along with Vernon Search and Rescue volunteers, spent three days looking for a missing camper who had called 911 saying they were lost.

However, when a police helicopter finally located the individual, it found them safe and sound back at their camp, but unable to call the police back to let them know they were OK, as their cell phone was dead.

According to a Vernon North Okanagan RCMP media release, at approximately 9 p.m. Jun. 19, police received a 911 call from an individual saying they had become disorientated in thick brush and could not find their way back to their campsite.

The camper did not know the specific details of where they were camped and could only provide a general location of where they had set up camp. RCMP officers headed to the general location and sounded the police siren in the hope that if the camper heard they could then start searching on foot. The attempt failed, as did an attempt to locate the caller's cellphone location.

Over the next three days, RCMP officers, Vernon Search and Rescue, along with the RCMP Police Dog Services Section and RCMP Air Services searched for the missing hiker. In the afternoon, Jun. 22, a police helicopter finally located the camper, who was safe at the campsite but was unable to call police to say they no longer required assistance because their cellphone battery was dead.

"Numerous police resources are dedicated to these types of calls for assistance. This is a good reminder for people using the backcountry to ensure they provide details of where they will be to a family or friends," Vernon RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Tania Finn said in the release.

"It is very fortunate that this incident was able to resolve itself and the camper found their way safely back to their campsite. However, had we had information on where the campsite was located, this could have been resolved within a few hours of police being called."

The RCMP is reminding the public about backcountry safely, and to research your route, plan where you will be camping and hiking and share your plan with friends or family members. It is also important to be prepared for accidents and have 'just in case' items including warm clothing, extra water and a portable cellphone charger.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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