Updated: October 27, 2021 9:34:26 am
Ignoring calls from unknown numbers might have become a common habit. However, in a bizarre turn of events, a hiker who went missing did not answer calls from the search-and-rescue team sent out to look for him, as he didn’t recognise the numbers! Now, the authorities have issued a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to urge others not to ignore calls if they find themselves in a similar situation.
“If you’re overdue according to your itinerary, and you start getting repeated calls from an unknown number, please answer the phone; it may be a (search and rescue) team trying to confirm you’re safe!” Lake County Search and Rescue (LCSAR) stressed in a post on its official Facebook page.
According to the post, whereabout of the man was unknown for 24 hours, who went on a hike to Colorado’s highest mountain, Mount Elbert last week. The hiker was reported missing around 8pm on October 18 after failing to return to where he was staying, the authorities said. LCSAR was contacted after “multiple attempts to contact the subject via their cell phone were unsuccessful.”
Officials sent out teams to look for the person at night high probability areas on Mount Elbert, but failed locate the subject. Following morning after failing to locate the missing hiker, they also sent out teams “in a new area where hikers typically lose the trail.”
However, at around 9:30am, the man had safely returned back to his place of lodging, the reporting party informed the LCSAR teams. The hiker told authorities he had lost his way around nightfall and “bounced around on to different trails trying to locate the proper trailhead” before finally reaching his car the next morning, about 24 hours after setting out on the hike.
Although he added that he had no idea a rescue team was sent out to look for him, adding he ignored repeated phone calls from authorities “because they didn’t recognise the number.”
Even though the rescuers were glad, he was safe and the situation didn’t turn awry they took this moment to inform others about some important things to keep in mind while setting out on adventures on the mountain trails, especially during winters. “Please remember that the trail is obscured by snow above treeline,” they added. “Please don’t count on following your ascent tracks to descend the mountain, as wind will often cover your tracks.”
As more than 32 hours were dedicated to the search looking for the hiker, it prompted a fury online. However, authorities were quick to remind people “what seems like common sense in hindsight is not obvious to a subject in the moment when they are lost and panicking.”
Asking people to be respectful, LCSAR added: ” In Colorado, most folks who spend time outdoors have a good understanding of the SAR infrastructure that is there to help them, but this is not the case nation-wide.”
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