A search and rescue operation to locate a woman who had gone missing while hiking in thick bush ended happily Tuesday thanks to air support.
The operation, which involved numerous Royal Cayman Islands Police Service departments as well as 911 operators, began after the 51-year-old woman, who had been searching for mangoes in the bush off Queens Highway, was reported missing.
The 911 Emergency Communications Centre received the report at around 3.50pm and was told the woman had been gone for the last three hours.
Police officers from East End, North Side and Bodden Town, as well as the K9 Unit, responded to the scene. Medics were also deployed and the Cayman Islands Helicopter was launched into the air. Police were told the woman had entered the bush near the Digicel tower and her vehicle was found parked nearby.
After an 18-minute aerial search, the air support team located the woman lying in very thick bush around 900 feet inland from the Queens Highway, and the team in the air guided those on the ground to her location. Officers had to use machetes to cut through the bush in order to get to the woman because there were no pathways. The victim was found in an exhausted, confused and seriously dehydrated condition. She had also suffered some cuts and bruises and medics were required to treat the woman on location before she could be moved. She was later taken to hospital for additional treatment. She has since been released and is recovering at home.
‘There is no doubt that this incident could have ended much differently,’ said Commissioner of Police, Mr David George. ‘Thankfully, the air support team managed to locate the woman extremely quickly. Although she was found in bad shape, it really doesn’t bear thinking about what might have happened had it got dark before we found her. There is a real chance this woman may not have been found alive.’
The RCIPS is reminding those who go hiking to take all the necessary safety precautions such as carrying plenty of water, checking the weather forecast beforehand, wearing suitable clothing and footwear and ensuring others have details about your plans.