VANCOUVER — A local hiker who was missing in B.C.’s Garibaldi Provincial Park for two weeks has been found alive.
Daniel Ring was dropped off at the Elfin Lakes trailhead in the park on July 7 and was planning to camp at Rampart Ponds.
Police said Ring failed to return to his pick-up site two days later, on July 9, prompting a search and rescue effort.
Search and rescue crews had been combing through the area ever since to no avail.
Then Thursday afternoon, B.C. Wildfire Service crews responding to reports of smoke near Pitt River made an unusual discovery.
“They saw a man in the area waving them down and so they landed and picked him up. They discovered that he had been missing and gave him a lift to Squamish and turned him over to the ambulance service and the Squamish RCMP,” said Dorthe Jakobsen, a fire information officer, of the Coastal Fire Centre.
The B.C. Wildfire Service won’t say who started the blaze, but confirm it was human caused and it remains under investigation.
Search and Rescue crews say they don’t typically cover the area he was found.
“It’s mountainous forests,” said Landon James, of Squamish Search and Rescue.
“They’re quite steep terrain that’s not easy to navigate in. And it was really hard for our search teams. And I’m assuming it was pretty hard for him to travel in for the last couple of weeks,” James told CTV News.
The 33-year-old had only planned to be in the park for a few days.
“He had a tarp, a sleeping bag, clothes and a pack. Obviously, 14 days is a little more than he was expecting. So you would have had to conserve those supplies or find fresh water, some food to eat if possible.”
James says his team rarely responds to a search of this length and most rescues they respond to are near hiking trails or within cell phone range.
“It’s super rare. I’ll admit, I was elated, but surprised today when I heard that he was located fine. You know, it’s one of those times that you know, we were starting to definitely get a bit discouraged as to whether we would find him and to hear this is definitely amazing,” said James.
BC Emergency Health Services said a paramedic crew was dispatched to the Squamish Airport to assess Ring.
They found he did not have any serious injuries and was not taken to hospital.
Officials said he’s been reunited with his family.