Mountain biker spends cold night in the woods

A 21-year-old mountain biker spent a cold, wet night lost in a forest west of Mount Wells Regional Park on Saturday.

A 21-year-old mountain biker spent a cold, wet night lost in a forest west of Mount Wells Regional Park on Saturday before being found by Metchosin Search and Rescue.

Russell Abraham got lost on Saturday while mountain biking in the Sooke Hills area, west of Humpback Road and north of Sooke Road. As dusk approached Abraham realized he was lost and called his stepmother with his cell phone at about 5:30 p.m. She told him to stay put and called the police. Langford Fire Rescue responded and called in the Metchosin Search and Rescue at about 7:45 p.m.

Metchosin Search and Rescue group leader Craig Barlow said members started searching on foot and with ATVs, and that a search dog was deployed. Because of the dark, members were told to stick to the trails and not “bushwhack.”

Abraham’s cell phone had died but he had told his stepmother some landmarks that he had seen that searchers used those as clues to find him.

Search and Rescue halted the search at about 4 a.m. Sunday morning, spent some time planning and then reconvened at about 6 a.m. to start searching again in the light. By that time Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue and Saanich Search and Rescue joined in with the effort.

At about 10 a.m. they found Abraham, cold and soaked but otherwise healthy. He walked out of the forest near Ragged Mountain without help and with his bike. Abraham’s stepmother was there and Barlow said she was extremely grateful and thankful that he was OK.

“It’s nice to have these kinds of outcomes, I must say,” Barlow said. “It took a little bit of time for us to hit our stride as a search group but once we got operational and we had a game plan in mind it went pretty well. Almost textbook in that regard.”

Barlow said that a lack of familiarity with an area that has a “spider web of trails” can lead to getting lost, especially at dusk.

“All you have to do is take one wrong trail,” Barlow said, “and it connects you with another trail and that trail takes you to another trail and all of a sudden you have no idea where you are.”

When heading out into the backwoods be sure to let people know where you are going and where you are starting from, Barlow said.

Carry a fully charged cellphone, snacks, water, warm clothing and, ideally, a map and compass or GPS.

news@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Conservation kills bear in Langford amid growing problem of habituation

Officer demands garbage lockdown for residents in bear territory

Killing of Discovery Island wolf was legal, says BC Conservation Service

Takaya was shot and killed by hunters on March 24

Anti-racism rally takes to the streets of downtown Victoria

Vigil for George Floyd planned at B.C. Legislature for 7 p.m.

West Shore RCMP tags spray-painting suspect for drug trafficking

Spray-painting incidents took place over weekend

Monday rings in partial return of school across Saanich Peninsula

Saanich School District reopening of schools comes with revised health measures

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read