A pair of hikers had to be rescued after becoming lost in a wooded area of Kanata Saturday evening.
Firefighters were dispatched to the area of Klondike and Old Second Line roads around 5:18 p.m. after one of the hikers called 911, saying they couldn't find their way out of the South March Highlands Conservation Forest.
"They made their way near a lot of water and ice," said Nicholas DeFazio, public information officer with Ottawa Fire Services. "They could hear the ice cracking, and that made them extremely nervous. And they didn't want to walk back over it to get out."
Firefighters were able to pinpoint the hikers' position and bring them out of the woods within 45 minutes.
It's the second time in less than a month that hikers have called emergency services for help after becoming lost in a rural part of the city.
On Dec. 28, three hikers got lost in Marlborough Forest. DeFazio said that rescue was trickier and firefighters had to use snowmobiles because of the terrain.
Preparation is key
Given Ottawa is made up of a large rural area, DeFazio said these types of rescues are not uncommon.
He said while having a cell phone can help rescuers pinpoint someone's location, they shouldn't be exclusively relied on as batteries can drain quickly in the cold.
DeFazio suggested people dress according to the weather, hike with another person if possible and let others know where they're going and what time they expect to be back.
If you're unfamiliar with an area, print off a map and do some research, he added.
"It's easy to get disoriented in a place where you don't know where you are," said DeFazio, adding things can get worse once the cold weather kicks in.
"Even if they had stepped in knee-high water when they broke through the ice, that soaks your boots and your socks and [if you] weren't dressed appropriately then that's what's going to start making things turn real quick," he said.
Anyone who's uncertain about their safety should always call 911, DeFazio said.