Hiker rescued after three days missing

51-year old hiker Trinidad de la Cruz was sighted by searchers riding on a helicopter above the mountains. She is described as from the mountain town of Constanza and is an experienced hiker.

She had become estranged from her group that was on a hike on Saturday, 6 July 2024 in the Central Mountain Range trails. She figured if she drew a large cross on top of a rock on the hill, the helicopters and drones would find her as they did.

De la Cruz was finally rescued by an Air Force helicopter on Monday, 8 July in the afternoon.

She had been missing since Saturday afternoon when she was hiking with a group of 30 people from the Pinalito Dam in the Constanza area to the Blanco Hydroelectric Plant in Monseñor Nouel province, a popular trail.

Drones, a helicopter, Max from the Civil Defense canine unit and 37 expert mountain hikers searched for the woman.

“We are very happy to have found her alive,” said a Civil Defense spokesperson. “This is a testament to the hard work of our search and rescue teams.”

De la Cruz is currently being treated for dehydration and minor injuries.

De la Cruz was found in a remote area, about 16 kms (10 miles) from where she was last seen. She said she drank water from a stream and ate wild berries.

She had been missing since around 6:45pm on Saturday, 6 July. El Caribe reports that the woman was traced using a call she had placed to a relative after separating from the group.

As reported in Listin Diario, De la Cruz had signaled for help with a makeshift “HE” sign made out of stones that was sighted by the Air Force helicopter search crew.

The helicopter was able to land after search crews cleared some trees but was not able to reach where De la Cruz waited. Eventually, she was able to walk on her own to reach the helicopter to be taken to a public hospital in Constanza.

The rescue operation was carried out by the Air Force, with the support of the Civil Defense and the National Emergency and Security System 911.

The incident is a reminder of the importance of safety when hiking. Hikers should always let someone know where they are going and when they expect to be back. They should also be prepared for the possibility of getting lost, by carrying a map, compass, and GPS device.

Read more in Spanish:
Listin Diario
Listin Diario
El Caribe
Diario Libre
Noticias SIN

9 July 2024