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UPDATED: Missing hiker located safely near Shawnigan

A Victoria hiker was found cold but safe after spending a chilly Friday night in the bush west of Shawnigan Lake, officials say.

Tina Phillips, president of the Cowichan Search and Rescue said some 45 SAR members, including folks from Juan de Fuca and Metchosin branches, plus RCMP police dog services located the exhausted man at about 3:10 p.m. Saturday.

“This guy did the right thing,” said Phillips. “He stayed put for the night and that gave us the chance to work in the night.

“It was an honest mistake. He turned right when he should have turned left and followed another little creek.

“He had food and shelter but no way to light a fire and no sleeping bag but he was dressed for the weather.”

Shawnigan Lake RCMP were told Friday at about 5 p.m. a camper had been separated from his two friends west of Shawnigan Lake.  The three males had traveled to the West Jordan main logging trail/ Jordan River area around noon to camp and hike.

Their canoe would not hold all three so one of the males decided to walk and meet them at the pre-determined campsite, RCMP said.

The two in the canoe arrived and waited for their friend. When he didn’t arrive they found some footprints in the snow but could not locate their missing pal.

The Friday night’s manhunt started at around 7 p.m. It came up empty with some members sleeping in their cars after braving fog and snow, Phillips said.

Saturday saw extra searchers arrive from Juan de Fuca Search and Metchosin operations.

The uninjured male was found near the 11-kilometre marker on the West Jordan main, cops said.

Cowichan SAR’s 20-some members used their command truck and were prepared to sleep outdoors.

“We set up a containment on the West Jordan main road, with people driving that road,” Phillips said.

“We also knew he had a backpack and a tent and we assumed he’d hunker down for the night,” she said of the hiker, who had bush experience.

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