A man and woman were reported to be cold but uninjured after spending most of Saturday night lost in deep, thick forest on Maple Mountain near Duncan.
The two hikers started their trek around 3 p.m. Saturday. They got lost and spent about 13 hours stranded on steep terrain before they were finally airlifted to safety by a team from 19 Wing Comox air base early Sunday.
A helicopter from 19 Wing Comox air base was called in about 1 a.m. after a ground search headed by the Duncan RCMP failed to locate the middle-aged pair.
The helicopter crew took more than an hour to find the two, who used a cellular phone to direct the rescuers to their location, according to the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria.
The hikers could see the lights of the helicopter, aircraft commander Capt. Jean Leroux said in a statement.
But the rescue got a bit scary with low-level clouds moving in, said Paul Tasker, maritime co-ordinator with the rescue co-ordination centre.
“They wouldn’t be able to fly if the clouds came in. There would be zero visibility,” Tasker said.
The helicopter hovered near the cliff edge while crews hoisted the hikers up about 30 metres.
“They were in some pretty deep bush,” Tasker said.
The helicopter crew transported the hikers, who were in stable condition, to a nearby sports field, where an ambulance was waiting.
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