Nanaimo Search and Rescue started off its long weekend searching several hours for a woman who got trapped on the East Wellington bluffs but was found safe.
Volunteer search technicians responded to the area overnight Friday and Saturday after a woman in her 50s became stuck on a steep section of the terrain and then called a friend for help shortly before her cellphone’s battery died.
“She wasn’t prepared to be out in the dark and she ended up getting cliffed out on a hiking trail,” said Eugene Touchette, NSAR search manager. “Essentially she didn’t feel comfortable going down this one slope, so she called a friend for help and then her phone ended up dying.”
Touchette said searchers had little information about the woman’s location, so it took several hours to track her down. NSAR mustered about 20 members, and rescue teams from Ladysmith and Parksville were also called in to assist with the search, which focused on the bluffs behind the Visitor Information Centre at the Northfield Road and Nanaimo Parkway intersection.
Searchers hiked about four kilometres before finding the woman at about 4:30 a.m.
Touchette said she was cold and tired, but otherwise OK, and carried out on a stretcher about half a kilometre to paramedics waiting at Cavallotti Lodge on East Wellington Road.
“We ended up handing her off to B.C. Ambulance and then they took her to [hospital] to get checked out,” he said.
Touchette stressed the need to be prepared before starting out on a hike should someone have to spend a night outdoors in the event of becoming lost or injured before help can arrive.
“People need to be prepared at this time of year,” Touchette said. “You have to have a flashlight with you when you go for a hike in the evening. Have a cellphone.”
Some food, an extra layer of clothing and a small first aid kit are also recommended.