Lost WNF hikers found safe and sound

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP — For seven area people, a trek through the Wayne National Forest Sunday evening turned out to be a bit more of an adventure than they bargained for.

They were lost for a few hours and rescued just after midnight Monday morning by area firefighters and a horseback rescue team.

“We got a call around 9:14 (p.m. Sunday) that there were people lost around Lake Vesuvius,” Elizabeth Township Fire Chief Dale Waugh said.

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“They went in toward the upper end of the lake. They had parked at the spillway near the furnace and went hiking and got off the trial and got lost. They had no flashlights with them. But one of them had a cell phone and on top of a hill he was able to get cell service. He made contact with 911.”

More than 30 firefighters from Elizabeth, Aid, Upper and Lawrence townships and a six-person horseback rescue team from the Lawrence County Chapter of the Ohio Horseman’s Council combed the woods in search of the three adults, three teens and a nine-year-old child.

“We told them to stay where they were and build a fire and 10 or 15 minutes after that we found them,” Waugh said. “They were cold, very cold, but they were alright.”

The lost hikers were from South Point and from Ashland, Ky.

Waugh said those who want to hike in the woods should leave ample time to return during daylight hours. He recommended that hikers carry water, a flashlight, snacks and a loud whistle, so that if they do become lost, they can attract the attention of rescuers should it become dark before they are found. While cellular service in the rural areas is not always available, cell phones can be useful if the lost hiker is near the top of a hill.

He also recommended that before setting off on that trek, hikers leave a note on the dashboard of their car, stating who they are, where they are hiking and what time they left.

This is the second forest rescue this year. In February, a Columbus man was rescued after he became lost in the forest while hiking in Aid Township. Firefighters and the horseback rescue team were involved in that search as well.