Lost hunter found in Six Rivers National Forest and airlifted to safety

USCG file photo

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. – A Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay helicopter crew helped rescue a 71-year old man this morning after being lost overnight in the woods near Crescent City, Calif.

Two men were hunting together when they became separated. Adding to their dilemma, they were unable to communicate to each other when both their radios lost battery power. Fortunately, one of the men was able to hike out of the woods and get help.

Del Norte County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue teams searched for the lost hunter near Muzzleloader Creek in Six Rivers National Forest through the night until thunderstorms and fog halted rescuers until today. A Coast Guard MH-65C helicopter supplemented the ground crews to resume the search at 7 a.m.

By 9:40 a.m., ground crews found the lost hunter. The man was exhausted, dehydrated, and unable to walk after trying to hike out the night before. He was more than two hours from the nearest road and showed signs of exposure.

The helicopter crew successfully airlifted the exhausted man despite a challenging hoist complicated by the hilly terrain, dense woods and tall trees. Once aboard the aircraft, he was delivered to a waiting ambulance at Crescent City Airport.

“People recreating outdoors should always be prepared for inclement weather and the possibility of getting lost,” said Sgt. Terry McNamara, Del Norte County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Coordinator. ” Something even as basic as a whistle could have made a huge difference in this case.”

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