ANMORE — Search and rescue crews are reminding outdoor enthusiasts to be mindful of the waning daylight hours after an incident Sunday night saw a runner stranded near Buntzen Lake for close to four hours.
The missing runner, a 31-year-old Richmond resident, initially set off to run around a trail — one that takes about five hours to traverse — near Buntzen Lake at about 3 p.m. Sunday.
However, an apparent run-in with a bear saw her stray from the path during her run.
By the time she had regained her bearings, nightfall began to set in and police were called.
Coquitlam Search and Rescue crews were notified at about 7:30 p.m. and were on the scene within an hour.
About 20 crew members surrounded the lake and were able to make voice contact with the woman at about 11 p.m. Crews found the runner a half hour later and she was re-united with family members at about 2:30 a.m.
“She was not injured, but pretty freaked out,” said Al Hurley, the Coquitlam Search and Rescue’s search manager who headed up Sunday’s incident. “She had been in the dark for quite a while, and she was pretty dehydrated. She had seen a bear two hours before we got there and it kind of panicked her.”
Hurley noted that the runner was not familiar with the area, nor did she possess any of the “10 Essentials” long touted by search and rescue officials across the province — a flashlight, extra clothing and food, or a map, among other things.
The woman did use the flashlight app on her iPhone, though that ended up killing the cellphone’s battery.
“Leave a trip plan and don’t go alone — it gets dark early this time of year,” Hurley cautioned.