A 24-year-old man missing for three days in the woods below Little White Mountain was located safe and sound, Monday afternoon (Aug. 17).
Outfitted for a day trip with a sweater, jacket, water and some food, Aaron Rempel became separated from his hiking companion on Saturday, Aug. 15, before bushwhacking his way around the south slope, finally making his way to the Kettle Valley Rail Trail.
When search and rescue teams finally made contact with Rempel, they described him as hungry and tired, but well hydrated as he had been drinking from streams during his journey.
According to search manager Kevin Birnie, Rempel was reasonably fit.
“Search and rescue teams searched throughout the night on Saturday until 4 a.m., before resuming the search at 5:30 am Sunday,” Birnie said. “After no sign of him by Sunday night, the call went out and on Monday search teams from Penticton, Oliver and Osoyoos, the Shuswap, Vernon and the local Civilian Air SAR team joined in.”
A police dog team and RCMP helicopter were also involved in the search.
In the end, it was a group of cyclists who discovered the lost hiker after he made his way to Trestle 8 on the KVR and called for help.
“He was a strong, smart young man and he did a lot of things right, but he made a few mistakes,” said Birnie, “Even though he was only expecting to be out for a day hike unexpected things happen.
Birnie added that hikers should always file a trip plan and be prepared with sufficient food and water and the ability to make a fire.