LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. – The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office used a helicopter to rescue two lost hikers in Liberty Lake Regional Park on Sunday night.
The two had been on a hike when they wandered off the trails and became lost, according to a release.
“The hikers, dressed for sun and mid-80 degree temperatures, now found themselves in the dark, heavily wooded forest with temperatures which had plummeted into the 40’s,” SCSO officials wrote in a release.
Just before 9 p.m. they were able to use a cell phone to call 911 for help, and their phone showed their general location. The phone was running out of battery and they had limited service.
The hikers had wandered off the trail near a waterfall and were not able to find their way back, SCSO officials said.
The hikers used a lighter to signal the helicopter as they kept their cell phone off to save the remainder of the battery.
Eventually, they were spotted and a search and rescue deputy with two search and rescue volunteers were able to help them out of the woods and give them warm clothes.
The hikers were not hurt in the incident.
The Spokane County Search and Rescue team provided a list of tips for hikers:
- Call for help when you know you’re lost, before it’s dark.
- No one ever expects to get lost, bring clothing and supplies with you: food, water, warm clothing, cellphone, compass, GPS and a flashlight/strobe light should be carried as a precaution, even on a short hike.
- If you do have a cellphone, put it in “Airplane” mode to conserve your battery. As you leave good cell phone coverage, your cell phone will expend a lot of power as it continually searches for a connection.
- Bring a map of where you’re hiking; know where you are as you’re enjoying our beautiful parks and wilderness. In addition to possibly helping you find your way back if you get turned around, making notes can also be used when planning hikes in the future.