Missing dog walker Annette Poitras found 'alive and well' in Coquitlam, B.C., after massive search
After a massive search spanning three days, rescuers have found dog walker Annette Poitras "alive and well" in a backcountry area of Coquitlam, B.C. and airlifted her and three dogs to safety.
Poitras, 56, was last seen Monday afternoon walking three dogs. She spent two nights in the rain-drenched wilderness before being found shortly after 11 a.m. PT on Wednesday by rescue crews.
At about 2:00 p.m., she was rescued from the steep terrain by a long-line helicopter rescue, and greeted with loud cheers by her family.
"I couldn't breathe," her husband, Marcel Poitras, told reporters less than an hour after hearing the good news. "It was just amazing."
"I told my daughter we'll wait until she gets home before we start giving her shit."
The missing woman was found by searchers in the Coquitlam watershed in an area off-limits to hikers and dog walkers, far north of the area where she was last seen, said Cpl. Michael McLaughlin of Coquitlam RCMP.
"She is alive, she is talking to rescuers, she is sore," he said.
Marcel Poitras was full of gratitude for the days of searching by crews from around B.C. in steep, wet terrain.
"I just want to say support your local search and rescue and hug your spouse tonight, whoever you're lying in bed with tonight, hold on to them," he said.
'Really difficult couple of days'
It's not clear yet how Poitras got so far off the trail, or how she kept warm during two wet nights outdoors.
She had some injuries to her back, said her husband, and a search and rescue official told CBC News she had slipped and fallen in the wilderness.
When she was found, Poitras was given dry clothes by rescuers and then long-lined out by helicopter, before being transported by ambulance to hospital.
Two more helicopter trips lifted out the dogs — first an older puggle named Bubba, then a border collie named Chloe and young boxer named Roxy — to be reunited with owners jubilant the animals had been rescued safely.
"I've had some dark days here. [But] I woke up this morning and I just knew it, I knew she was coming home today," said Marcel Poitras.
Close to 60 searchers led by Coquitlam Search and Rescue were combing new territory today in the "massive" backcountry of Eagle Mountain on day three of the search, RCMP said earlier.
RCMP all-terrain vehicles, two helicopters and expertly trained searchers from around the province were involved in the rescue effort.
With files from Susana da Silva