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'Very grateful': Mother of children rescued from mountain praises search efforts
Two children are now safe after spending the night on steep terrain on Burke Mountain in Coquitlam, after getting lost while on a hike with their father on Sunday.
The pair were longlined out to safety Monday morning by search and rescue crews.
"This was really kind of a miraculous rescue," said Coquitlam Search and Rescue Search Manager Ian MacDonald.
Crews had spent the night searching for the children after getting a call from their father just after seven Sunday evening.
The family had been planning to head to a local lake to do some fishing. They got off track and ended up slipping down into a steep creek bed area, according to MacDonald.
The father, who suffered injuries, made his way out and found a fellow hiker with a cell phone in an area with reception.
Search and rescue crews eventually came upon a blue backpack, then a pair of shoes.
The discoveries helped lead rescuers to the children.
"It was kind of like Hansel and Gretel. We found some breadcrumbs along the way, and one of those was the backpack," MacDonald said.
Coquitlam Search and Rescue team member Al Hurley helped longline the children to safety.
"They didn’t say much but they were grinning when we lifted off so it was pretty cool," Hurley said.
He told CTV News Vancouver the children were cold when they were found, and the girl had some scrapes, but both appeared to be in good spirits.
Rescuers bundled up both kids, and they took to the air cradled in the arms of Hurley and another crew member.
"You don’t want to give up. You’re hoping you’ll hear this little voice in the darkness," Hurley said of the hunt for the kids. "Best outcome ever."
The children were lowered to the ground and reunited with their father and taken to a waiting ambulance. They were checked out at Royal Columbian Hospital but have since returned home.
Coquitlam Search and Rescue led the search effort, which also involved crews from North Shore, Ridge Meadows, Surrey and the Central Fraser Valley. A police dog, drone, and helicopter were also involved in the search.
CTV News Vancouver spoke to the children’s mother who says the kids hike everywhere with their father.
She calls the effort by search crews "amazing" and adds the family is "very grateful."
The children’s parents are originally from Georgia in the United States, but are currently staying in Coquitlam.
Search and rescue crews said they have received other calls for help from this area in the past.
They described the terrain as "gentle" at the top, but people tend to get funnelled into lower areas that are very steep.
Crews are reminding people to create a trip plan that indicates your intended destination and time you expect to return, and leave it with someone in case of an emergency.