Lost B.C. hiker survives 10 days in wilderness
Published Sunday, October 23, 2011 6:01PM EDT
For 10 days, a 45-year-old hiker was stranded on a mountainside near North Vancouver, suffering from dehydration, frostbite and injuries that he had sustained in a fall.
But Michael St. Laurent's ordeal ended on Sunday morning when he was airlifted to a local hospital after an off-duty search-and-rescue volunteer happened upon him.
For days, he knew that people were searching for him. They came close, but St. Laurent remained in the wilderness, unable to make enough noise to get the attention of his would-be saviours.
"I could hear them; they didn't hear me," St. Laurent told CTV British Columbia on Sunday. "On the third day, I started hallucinating, and from there it's been a wait-and-see game to see who else is going to come up."
"It's been a very rough, a very tough slog."
St. Laurent had been hiking on Grouse Mountain, a popular spot not far from the lights of downtown Vancouver. But what was supposed to be a short hike on the North Shore turned into a harrowing, 10-day affair after St. Laurent slipped and hurt both his hip and his knee.
His car had been parked in the recreation spot's parking lot since Oct. 13, but police had listed him as a missing person. Since St. Laurent hadn't told anyone where he was headed, police weren't sure if he had gone out on the hiking trail or somewhere else.
Volunteer North Shore Search and Rescue members had been out on the mountain looking for St. Laurent, but had come up with no clues because the area is large and rugged.
But one member, out on a personal hike, unexpectedly came upon the missing St. Laurent on Saturday night at a spot about a nine-hour hike around the mountain's backside.
St. Laurent was given first aid, and when another rescuer arrived on the scene, they camped out overnight in the Hanes Valley area until a chopper could arrive early Sunday morning.
St. Laurent, who is from North Vancouver, had frost bite, was severely dehydrated and was disorientated.
Tim Jones, from North Shore Search and Rescue, said that St. Laurent had prepared himself for death and had written vital information on his arm.
"He had actually resigned himself that it was going to be it for him," Jones said.
Jones said that despite his injuries, St. Laurent is lucky to be alive.
"He didn't tell anyone where he was going, he didn't have a communication device," Jones said. "He didn't do himself a lot of favours."
Jones said that a tarp may have saved his life, as it provided shelter during a few days of heavy rain. He also had a small amount of food and fresh water with him.
With a report from The Canadian Press