Lost Hiker Saved by Online Bear Cam Plea for Help

20:24 12.09.2023

A stranded hiker in Alaska was rescued just ahead of the highly anticipated "Fat Bear Week" after being spotted on a livestream camera operated by within Katmai National Park and Preserve. Last Tuesday, viewers tuning into the livestream noticed a disheveled hiker on Dumpling Mountain approaching one of the 12 cameras. In a seemingly desperate plea for help, the hiker mouthed the words "help me" as windy and rainy conditions with poor visibility surrounded him.

Concerned viewers immediately notified the chat moderator, who then alerted a Katmai Park Ranger. Acting swiftly, the park sent a search and rescue team to rescue the stranded hiker. The hiker remained at the webcam site until 6:48 p.m. when a team of rangers escorted him down the mountain to safety at Brooks Camp. The hiker's name is being withheld at this time.

The incident occurred amidst the excitement for "Fat Bear Week," an annual tradition where viewers vote on which bears in the park have grown the most in preparation for hibernation. Bears are drawn to Katmai from late June through September to feast on salmon, a vital source of nutrition before entering their dens for the winter. During hibernation, bears can lose up to a third of their body weight and solely rely on their fat reserves.

Although the date for this year's "Fat Bear Week" has not been announced, voting typically takes place in early October. The popularity of the livestream during this event is evident, as it was during these preparations that viewers spotted the distressed hiker., a multimedia company responsible for operating web cameras for the National Park Service and other entities, shared the footage capturing the hiker's plea for help. As the hiker trudged through the fog on Dumpling Mountain, he passed by the camera, mouthing the words "help me" and "lost." This prompted several viewers in the chat room to notify the company of the distressing situation.

The Park Service was then immediately informed of the emergency, leading to the deployment of a search and rescue team. Despite the challenging weather conditions, including gusty winds, driving rain, and dense fog, the rangers successfully located and rescued the hiker unharmed.

Mike Fitz, a former ranger and the founder of Fat Bear Week, explained that it is not uncommon for hikers to become lost in Katmai National Park, which spans over 4 million acres and is only accessible by plane or boat. He emphasized the difficulties of navigating the park's terrain and changing weather conditions, making it easy for hikers to lose their bearings.

The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of preparedness and caution when venturing into remote wilderness areas. The livestream camera that ultimately saved the hiker's life showcased the power of technology and the vigilance of viewers. As Fat Bear Week approaches, the countdown to voting for the park's plumpest brown bear continues, but it is the rescue of the lost hiker that remains the focus of attention and gratitude.

/ Tuesday, September 12, 2023, 8:24 PM /

themes:  Alaska

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