Three missing hikers found
Three hikers missing on Eagle Mountain on the east side of Buntzen Lake Sunday night did not make things easier for the search crews attempting to locate them.
The trio were able to contact police at around 6:30 p.m. after hiking all day. They described their location and Coquitlam Search and Rescue crews and a Talon helicopter were quickly dispatched.
However, as the sun began to set and the battery on their phone died, the three decided to make one more attempt at finding their own way back to the parking lot.
"If they had stayed where they were we would have flown right over them," said Dwight Yochim, a search manager with the Coquitlam SAR. "The whole task would have been completed in an hour."
Instead, search crews were dropped into the location and began following the tracks left behind by the missing hikers.
By the time the three subjects were discovered they had made their way back to the parking lot on their own, shortly after 11:30 p.m.
"The first thing we tell people is to stay put," Yochim said. "The areas they were in, you could see there was some avalanche activity... It could have easily turned into something different."
Making the lengthy trek at night increased the risk of injury, he added, and the missing people did not possess the equipment necessary for safe hiking.
A compass, maps and even a GPS are important tools and people should always have a fresh cellphone charge when they venture into the back country.
Yochim said that warm clothes are also necessary and hikers should always be prepared for an overnight stay.
This time of year weather changes can occur quickly and the temperatures and conditions at the base of the mountain will likely significantly change at the higher elevations, he added.
For more information about preparing for a hike in the back country go to www.coquitlam-sar.bc.ca.