Cody Michael and his dog, who had been missing for several days in the Tahoe National Forest, were rescued thanks to a duct tape sign he made which read “help.” According to a post from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, the 23-year-old missing hiker and his dog were found safe after they were spotted by a rescue helicopter.
“Lost hiker Cody Michael is looking great! He’s going to get medically checked, but he has no injuries! Thank you to our amazing search teams! We’ll give details about where and how he was found after we speak to the helicopter crew that located him in the Cherry Point area and hoisted him to safety.
“Thank you to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue teams and other searchers!”
The Rocklin hiker and his German shepherd, Bauer, were reportedly missing for about four days in the Sierra Nevada before they were found off the Cherry Point Trail of the massive forest, 1.2 miles northeast of where the American River meets Big Granite Creek in Placer County. Michael was found 72 hours to the minute after sending his last text to his family, KCRA reported. He explained to officials that he became lost due to heavy snow that covered his trail.
“We always hold out hope, but every searcher has the worst in the back of their mind,” Dena Erwin, a spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, told reporters. “To have a positive outcome was amazing. There were a lot of us in tears.”
The Pilot and crew members from the Army National Guard were the first to spot Cody. He explained to the local news station that he started waving when he noticed the helicopter in the area.
“I jumped up on the highest point that I could and started swinging some stuff around that I had set up and it worked,” Michael was quoted as saying. “They saw me and they came down.”
Just a short while after being spotted, Cody and his dog were rescued from their harrowing ordeal on Thursday morning. Speaking with reporters after the rescue, Cody’s father Howard gave the following statement.
“He was absolutely lost, and it wasn’t until this third in the expanded search that they got into the territory he was in,” Howard said. “He didn’t want to create a forest fire, so he built a fire for himself on a rock in the midst of some little melted snow pond-type of thing.”
Family members and friends became worried when they didn’t hear from him later in the day on Monday, after he set out for a hike around noon. The last time he was seen was by a group of bikers who snapped a photo of him with his cellphone.
After authorities were notified of his disappearance, a team of more than 33 trained searchers on foot, 50 volunteers, a team of Nordic skiers, two Black Hawk helicopter crews, a team on snowmobiles and five certified search-and-rescue dogs set out to find the missing hiker. Despite their search efforts, rescuers were unable to find him on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, the Black Hawk pilot and crew members noticed the word “help” spelled out in duct tape on the ground and they immediately knew it had to be Michael. The rescue crew pulled Michael and Bauer into the helicopter and they were transported back to safety.
[Image via Facebook]