A new employee at Dwight International School spent Thursday night lost in the woods on Mount Baldy, but found her way out in the morning, safe and sound.
"It was a very happy ending," said Tina Phillips, who managed the incident for Cowichan Search and Rescue. "We need those once in a while."
The young woman, a recent arrival to the Shawnigan Lake area, had taken her dog out for a walk, and when she didn’t return, both her husband and her employer called to report her absence. SAR began covering the highestprobability areas with a ground team and ATVs on the trails, considering the possibility that the dog got away from her and that she went deeper into the woods looking for it. The woman was not dressed to stay out overnight, and was not carrying water when she left.
The school was able to help by providing security camera footage showing what she was wearing and which direction she had gone in.
On Friday morning, SAR was looking to start the search over again, with mutual aid from Saltspring Island, Juan de Fuca, Ladysmith, as well as two aircraft, this
time trying to track down someone less responsive.
"The first night, we were looking for somebody conscious who would respond to our sounds and lights," Phillips said. "On day two, we were possibly looking for somebody who’s injured."
That’s when the good news came.
"Not long after the sun came up, about an hour and a half after, we received a phone call that she had walked out on the other side of the mountain," Phillips said.
The woman had reached a residence, where a couple drover her home.
"She was shaken up a bit, but after she was lost, she did everything right," Phillips said. "She stopped moving at dusk and hunkered down with the puppy. She was able to see street lights, so she had an idea of where she was going in the morning."
It turned out that wind had prevented her from hearing the searchers on Thursday night.
Although the woman did everything right after she was lost, there were some things she could have done to prevent getting into that situation in the first place, Phillips said, such as carrying water, a whistle, and her cell phone.
Search and Rescue was also called out on Saturday. They were in the midst of training
at Bright Angel Park when they were called to assist BC Ambulance with the rescue of an ATV rider who crashed in the woods past Shawnigan Lake on Kapoor Road.