KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - The Kootenai County Sheriff's Department initiated a search and rescue call out for a lost hiker from Spirit Lake Idaho.
The incident started on Saturday night around 7:30 when the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department received a call from the Bonner County Sheriff’s Department, relaying information regarding a lost hiker identified as 27-year-old Alisa M. Franckof Spirit Lake Idaho.
Ms. Franck reported she was hiking in the area of Chico Mountain with her boyfriend, David Dodd, 42 of Spirit Lake when she became disoriented and unable to find their arranged meeting place. Subsequent cell phone calls from Ms. Franck didn’t provide solid details as to her whereabouts and matters were complicated when her cell phone battery died. 911 dispatchers were able to determine that Ms. Franck was dressed for the weather, but had limited survival gear with her.
Deputies from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department and volunteer Search & Rescue members responded to the Chilco Mt. trail head which is about 4500 feet in elevation. There was approximately three to five inches of snow on the ground and it was still snowing. SAR members searched the Chilco Mt. trail and scoured the forest on the western side of the mountain looking for Ms. Franck. At approximately 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning, the storm let up and conditions improved enough to mobilize a rescue helicopter from Fairchild AFB. Once the helicopter was in the area, its crew searched a predetermined search grid for about four hours unsuccessfully. Law enforcement officers from the US Forest Service and volunteer SAR members from Bonner County were en route to assist.
At approximately 7:00 a.m. Sunday this morning the SAR Command Post was moved from the mountain top down to the eastern end of Nunn Road. As additional SAR resources were being mobilized for the second operational period, Ms. Franck walked out on a road leading to the snowmobile parking lot at the Bunco trail head where she was met by SAR members. Other than being cold, she was in good health and transported to the Command Post to warm up and get something to eat.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department says they would like to remind those recreating in the back country to pack the proper survival gear for all weather conditions in order to avoid a potentially hazardous situation.