Search for missing men in Hope area

Hope SAR team rescues lost hunter and hiker on Saturday

Hope Search and Rescue was busy on the weekend searching for two missing men.

A SAR team was called out Saturday morning by the RCMP to help locate a 75-year-old man who had been reported missing by family the night before.

After searching in the Merritt area for possible sightings, the RCMP determined the man might be in the Hope area.

Being a retired conservation officer from the Hope and Chilliwack area, the man was known to hunt in this area. Two of his friends, as well conservation officers, helped the SAR team and RCMP determine where the man usually hunted.

The search was concentrated around the Ladner Creek area and in the Skagit Valley.

Shortly into the search, the man was spotted driving on Skagit Valley Forest Service Road by two Hope SAR members. The hunter was later reunited with his family at the SAR building in downtown Hope.

That night, the RCMP also called out Hope SAR to search for a 54-year-old man who had been separated from his hiking group and did not return to the rendezvous point.

Police met with the search team at the start of the Needle Peak Trail on Highway 5 to gather information on what happened to the hiker.

After reaching the top at Flatiron Summit, a group of nine hikers started descending the trail back to the Needle Peak parking lot.

The 54-year-old hiker had decided to go out ahead of the group and meet them at bottom. When eight of the hikers arrived at the parking lot, the lone hiker was nowhere to be seen and was reported missing to RCMP.

Hope SAR, with mutual aid from Chilliwack SAR, searched the trail during the night to try and determine where the hiker could have gone astray.

After finding nothing, the search management team called in mutual aid from other teams to expand the search area.

While transporting search teams by helicopter to the top of Needle Peak to start the morning assignments, the hiker was spotted a short distance off the trail and was returned to command.

It was determined that he decided to try and follow the ski trails back to the parking lot instead of following the main trail.