Earlier in the week, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Sergeant Adam Shanks received a report of seven missing hikers, ranging in age from 13 to 21, from the Drift Creek Mennonite Camp located off US Forest Service Road 17, well east of Lincoln City. The caller reported two of his sons and five other children and young adults left the camp at approximately 5:30pm on Saturday evening, and were expected to complete the “Narrows Hike”, an approximate two mile trek returning before nightfall. The caller advised he received a cell phone call from his 21 year old son at about 8:00pm advising their group had taken a wrong trail on their return hike and were a couple of hours from returning to the camp. The hikers reportedly had minimal food and water.
Friends and family responded to the area and searched the hiking trail through the night hours. The searchers located a pile of coats the hiking group had discarded along the trail but were unable to locate any of the hikers.
Lincoln County Search & Rescue (SAR) was dispatched to the Drift Creek Camp to assist in the search. While reviewing area maps, one of the lost hikers made a cell phone call to the camp and advised all hikers were still together and had a fire started for heat. The caller was directed to place a 911 call for the purpose of obtaining GPS coordinates from his cell phone.
Lincoln County SAR members received the GPS Coordinates from the 911 call and learned the subjects were just under one mile from the camp location in very steep terrain. Lincoln County SAR members deployed a ground search team from a decomissioned logging road to the southeast of the coordinates.
At approximately 10:38am Sunday, an SAR ground search team located the hikers and led them to safety. All subjects were in good health and had no medical needs. SAR members learned the hikers had completed their outward hike to the Narrows and became lost on their return trip. The group was able to start a camp fire by burning shoe laces and remained stationary until located by SAR. Search and Rescue always advises the public that if you get lost, stay put because it’s easier to find a stationary object (you) if you’re not moving around. They say when lost victims move around they often go into areas already searched by search and rescue who figure they’ve already looked there. So…STAY PUT!