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May 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Rescue helicopter hoists lost hiker from Olympic National Park

A helicopter equipped with a heat sensor led to the rescue of a Union, Wash., man from Olympic National Park Saturday morning, said National Park spokeswoman Rainey McKenna.

David Snider, 55, set out on Monday afternoon for a day-hike on the Irely Lake Loop Trail, but he got trapped by steep terrain and deep snow when he tried to take a shortcut.

Olympic National Park searchers started looking for him Wednesday afternoon, when he was reported missing from work. A helicopter found tracks in the snow on Thursday, and searchers on the ground started tracking him.

A helicopter located him using a heat sensor at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, and King County Air Rescue hoisted him out of the drainage at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, McKenna said.

He was dehydrated, slightly hypothermic, and tired, but otherwise in good condition, McKenna said.

“We are very pleased with the successful outcome of this search,” said Larry Nickey, Olympic National Park Search and Rescue Coordinator. “Although we were able to locate the hiker’s tracks and identify his general location on Thursday, steep terrain and dense vegetation hindered our ability to find him quickly.”

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