HOPKINS, SC (WIS) - Officials with the Columbia Fire Department say the two people lost in Congaree National Park have been found.
Officials say the trail the hikers were lost on runs about 10 miles into the park. The two did not realize how far they had gone into the woods and as they began to head back they realized they were quickly losing daylight and battery power. That prompted them to dial 911. A search party worked its way along the trail, going miles into the woods, and eventually found the hikers and brought them back to the trail's head. They were reportedly in good condition and refused any medical attention.
"We had all the medical staff here just in case we had medical conditions. So we really weren't able to clear that up until we could actually get on scene with them, and meet with them, and see, ya know, what was going on based off the cold. Depending on how long the search could've taken, we could have been dealing with hypothermia and everything. So, until we could clear all that, we kept medical here, ready," Battalion Chief Robert Joyner with Columbia Fire explained.
Officials said in this case, the two hikers did exactly what they should have done. They said the event served as a good reminder to always go prepared if you're heading into the woods by taking a source of light and batteries. Also, do not hesitate to call for help if you think you need it.
Officials say the search and rescue was a combined effort between multiple agencies, including Richland County EMS and national park rangers.
With temperatures for Thursday night set to drop into the 20s overnight, officials worried the low temperatures could have been a serious factor if the hikers were not found.