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Hiker saved on Pacific Crest Trail after sending search and rescue teams an SOS

Search and rescue teams wrap up hiker to keep him warm overnight before getting a helicopter to airlift him to a local hospital. (Courtesy of Yakima County Search and Rescue.)

WHITE PASS, Wash.- Search and rescue teams got there just in time after a 55-year-old man sent out an SOS from his Garmin inReach communicator.

Randy Briscoe is the search and rescue coordinator with the Yakima County Sheriff's Office and he was able to get in contact with him to see how he was doing.

“I said, 'I need you to get up. I need you to start moving. I need you to start going to my team and meet them half way to you' and he said I can't make it,” Briscoe said.

The message the hiker originally sent said he was caught in a snow storm; his tent had been ripped up and he was cold and in need of help.

The man was found 15 miles south of White Pass near Knife’s Edge with early stages of hypothermia.

Briscoe said they had enough resources to save the hiker, but couldn't find him with the terrible weather conditions.

"Never before had we ever ventured into the wilderness with a team in those elements where they can't literally see because the wind is blowing so hard, the snow is blowing so hard," he said.

They had to use ground teams to get to the man, but couldn't get a helicopter close enough so they had to spend a night with him and keep him warm.

When Briscoe talked to the hiker, he said it was a warm sunny day before the storm hit.

Casey Harwood hikes trails like the Pacific Crest Trail often enough that he knows you need to be ready for any weather change that might happen.

"Just because it's sunny one day, doesn't mean that it's not going to snow the next day. Kind of like what we saw this weekend," Harwood said.

Stacy Wilson at Cabela’s said the communicator he used basically saved his live because there is no way a normal cell phone would be able to send that message.

"Most of the places where people are hunting and hiking out in the outdoors your cellphones don't work,” she said. “So, this is going to give you that communication piece."

With winter already here at high elevations, now is the time to make sure that you have everything you need before you go for a hike in the mountains.

For the list of essentials before you go hiking: Http://www.cascadians.org/13-essentials.html

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