Photo courtesy Kimberley RCMP

Missing B.C. hiker, dog found safe after 3-day search

Cranbrook hiker had been missing since Sunday, August 12, near Jumbo Pass.

A Cranbrook woman who had been missing since Sunday was located Wednesday night.

An extensive search was initiated when Louise Baxter, 52, failed to return from a short walk in Jumbo Pass. She had been on a hike with friends and had ventured out with her dog for a break. When she failed to return police were contacted.

Search and rescue was activated and 72 hours later Louise was located in good health. She was flown back to the Command Post and checked out by BC Ambulance. Her dog Maverick was with her the whole time and is also in good health.

Wendy Heatherington, from Kimberley Search and Rescue, worked incident command for the search efforts. The Kimberley Bulletin spoke to her Thursday morning, while she and the team were still in Invermere wrapping things up.

Heatherington said all the search teams were exhausted but elated at the positive outcome.

“I wasn’t with the crew that found her, I was on incident command. We don’t know the whole story yet. All we know is that she got lost. When she was found, she was whisked off by BC Ambulance to get checked out.”

Heatherington says the scene when Baxter was found was very emotional.

“Oh my gosh, SAR members were crying, the subject and her husband were crying. It’s just the absolute best case scenario.”

“The teams faced challenging and difficult terrain but persevered and focused on finding Louise. Their commitment is to be commended. It was a huge sigh of relief when word came in that Louise had been located,” said Sgt. Chris Newel, Incident Commander.

Search teams from Columbia Valley, Cranbrook, Kimberley, Golden, Revelstoke, Sparwood, Kaslo and Nelson assisted with the search. At the height of the search there were three helicopters, four search dogs, a drone and over 35 trained SAR volunteers. Officers from Kimberley, Cranbrook and Columbia Valley RCMP detachments worked alongside the SAR team and provided support to the family through Victim Services.

“I would like to send out a huge thanks to all the teams, support personnel, pilots and those who provided assistance over the three days. Your dedication is truly appreciated,” said Sgt Darren Kakuno, Columbia Valley Detachment Commander. “A special thanks to RK Heliskiing who provided their heliport, lodge and parking lot for the Command Post”.

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