West Shore RCMP reminds hikers to stay put when they call for help after it took four hours to locate a pair on Highlands trails Sunday.
Two hikers called the West Shore RCMP around 2:45 p.m. when they determined they were lost in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park.
Though officers were sent right away, they had difficulty locating them as they kept walking around. South Island search and rescue were just called in when the officers finally found the pair after 6:30 p.m. – they were on Cascade Trail in Central Saanich.
We got a call over the weekend of lost hikers in The #Highlands our officers located the hikers but only after hours of searching as the hikers did not stay put and wait for help. If you are lost while hiking and call police, please stay put, let us find you!! #hiking #BCRCMP
— West Shore RCMP (@WestshoreRCMP) November 19, 2019
“We use cellphone tracking technology to pinpoint your location,” said Const. Nancy Saggar, media relations officer for West Shore RCMP.
“We rely on those in distress to stay put. If you move, we have to start the search all over again. This makes it really difficult to find hikers who don’t listen to our instructions.”
Luckily, the hikers were prepared with clothing, food, and water. The pair were warned by officers to avoid becoming a moving target.
A similar incident took place at Thetis Lake Regional Park on Aug. 31 when an individual called West Shore RCMP around 10 p.m. saying he was lost. Officers didn’t find him until 3 a.m. because he kept walking around.
He didn’t have a shirt, food or water, according to Saggar.
“If you haven’t been to a hiking trail before and can’t find your way, then call the police,” Saggar said.
“It’s better you reach us when you have cell service, rather than lose it and have no other option but to begin roaming around. If you lose cell service, take a moment and walk until you find cell service and we will do our best to help.”