A pair of 19-year-old backcountry hikers were recused after spending several days trapped in the mountains in Oregon. The two hikers went camping in the Umpqua National Forest around December 25 but failed to return by December 29.
A massive search was launched two days later after they were reported missing to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. The ground search was hampered by recent winter storms that dumped heavy snow across the region, making it nearly impossible to traverse the roads around the mountain.
Local officials contacted the Coast Guard, which sent an MH-65 helicopter to assist. As the aircrew was surveying the area, they noticed a giant “SOS” written in the snow. They then initiated a rescue operation and airlifted the two men to safety. They were both unharmed and were taken to the airport to meet with deputies.
“These young men did a lot of things right to give themselves the best chance of being rescued,” said Lt. Maggie Champin, MH-65 aircraft commander for Sector North Bend. “By writing ‘SOS’ in the snow, staying near their vehicle, and staying near logging roads, we were able to find them relatively quickly.”
The Coast Guard also located two other individuals who were in distress and relayed their location to ground crews who were able to assist them.