Missing wanderers ignored rescuers’ calls because they were an unknown number

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“If you are late according to your itinerary and you start receiving repeated calls from an unknown number, please answer the phone.”

The hiker, whom authorities have not identified, told rescuers they had no idea anyone was looking for them. Christian Murdock / The Gazette via AP

When a hiker who had ventured out to explore Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest mountain, did not return at the end of the day last week as planned, a person concerned about their safety called authorities to report them. missing.

First, emergency personnel with the Lake County Search and Rescue team in Leadville, about 80 miles southwest of Denver, called the hiker’s cell phone, officials said.

The call was rejected.

The rescue team kept trying, but repeated calls and text messages to the hiker’s phone went unanswered. So a team of at least eight launched a couple of hours-long searches only to be informed that the hiker had returned safely to their lodge the next day, the Sacramento Bee first reported.

The hiker, whom authorities have not identified, told rescuers they had no idea anyone was looking for them. Their phone had been ringing, the hiker said, but they repeatedly turned down the calls as they came from an unknown number.

The incident prompted Lake County Search and Rescue to share a lesson for hikers.

“If you are delayed according to your itinerary and you start receiving repeated calls from an unknown number, please answer the phone; it may be a team trying to confirm that you are safe!” This is stated by the department in a statement.

The case is among several recent close calls involving hikers in the state. Earlier this month, a family who had stopped to take a picture on a trail in the Rocky Mountains rescued an injured man who had fallen while hiking. On Saturday, rescuers rescued a 74-year-old hiker who was found hanging from a tree. The woman, authorities said, fell about 30 feet down a dam as she walked along the Bear Canyon Trail. The next day, a helicopter crew rescued a 20-year-old hiker who injured his right hip after slipping on a track near Carbondale, Colo.

The Lake County Search and Rescue team did not immediately respond to a message from The Washington Post late Monday seeking further details about the Mount Elbert hiker.

The hiker began to climb the summit around noon. 9 on October 18, officials said. The South Elbert Trail, which runs 5.8 miles long, is considered the “easiest” route to the 14,440-foot mountain named after the state’s former territorial governor and Colorado State Supreme Court Justice Samuel Hitt Elbert.

Snow, rain and lightning are common at the top, and although no technical skills or special climbing experience is required to climb it, Forest Services warns that Mount Elbert’s height can affect the healthiest individuals.

Around night, the hiker noticed that he or she had lost track, the rescue workers later said. The person then spent the night finding back.

Around 12 p.m., five members of the rescue team began searching an area of ​​the mountain where they thought the person could find. After a failed three-hour hunt, the crew left the area to return later that morning, officials said.

At 7 a.m. on Oct. 19, three rescuers arrived at an area of ​​the mountain where hikers usually get lost, according to authorities. They searched for another three hours before being told that the hiker had found his way back to their car and safely arrived at their accommodation – almost 24 hours after they started the hike.

As some mocked the situation on social media, the Lake County Search and Rescue team urged supporters to be understanding.

“Please remember that what appears to be common sense in hindsight is not obvious to a subject the moment they are lost and panic,” department officials wrote. “In Colorado, most people who spend time outdoors have a good understanding of [search-and-rescue] infrastructure that is there to help them, but that is not the case nationally. ”

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