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Lucky hikers found in snowstorm after two days

MidiLibre/Scoop, Oct 30

First it was the reckless fishermen, fishing on a fast flowing river against advice.

Next it’s two hikers who went against professional advice and hiked to an altitude of nearly 3,000 metres in eastern Pyrenees-Orientales near Porté-Puymorens just before the snow fall. The guardian of the shelter had advised them against the ascent, due to the bad weather approaching, but they decided to ignore him.

The pair reached their goal of the summit of Campcardos on Saturday afternoon, and then started the long descent.

On Saturday at 5pm, they realised they were in trouble, but they had almost no battery in their GPS system. They made a phone call on a dwindling smartphone, but couldn’t be geo-located.

Catalan and French teams were mobilised, with helicopters, dog teams, and four climbing groups, but to no avail.

Unfortunately, the terrible weather prevented the helicopters from taking off on Sunday, and the second day of searching was as fruitless, despite the reinforcement. It was only on Monday morning, when the two hikers had already spent two nights lost at high altitude, that the helicopters were finally able to go looking for them.

One from Spain, the second from the Pyrénées-Orientales. The Dragon 66 left around 7:45 from Perpignan, to explore the area where the location of the couple had been estimated. Teams from CRS Montagne and the PGHM from Bolquère were mobilised on the French side.

Around 9:30 am, the CRS Montagne located the victims under the summit of Campcardos, on the French side.

Alive, but with serious frostbite, the man and the woman were taken to the hospital at Puigcerda in a hypothermic state.

According to the Catalan daily Diari de Girona, the couple spent two nights in temperatures of -7 ° C. The woman was slightly injured, but the condition of her companion is much more worrying.

The authorities took the opportunity to recall some basic safety instructions before going to the high mountains:

- Check the weather conditions and follow the recommended precautions. Postpone an excursion if necessary.

- Check your equipment, make sure there is a GPS enabled on your smartphone. Take spare batteries.

- Take food, water and warm clothes.

- Inform someone of the chosen route.

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