Nanaimo Search and Rescue (News Bulletin file)

Man dies while hiking Mount Benson

Nanaimo Search and Rescue had to hike to scene due to heavily wooded area.

A man died while hiking in the Mount Benson area Saturday, despite efforts to revive him.

According to Nanaimo RCMP, Nanaimo Search and Rescue responded to a medical distress call on Sept. 23 at 11 a.m, after a 69-year-old man, hiking with friends along Witchcraft Lake Regional Trail, collapsed.

CPR was administered, with a number of hikers helping, and 911 was called. B.C. Ambulance Service, search and rescue and RCMP responded, but the section of trail was densely forested and steep and a helicopter was unable to offer assistance, meaning search and rescue crews had to hike to the site.

Crews were assisted by hikers who carried equipment and the stretcher up the trail to the scene.

The man died.

The incident was handed over to the B.C. Coroner Service. Foul play is not suspected.

Const. Derek Balderston, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said that a numbered trail marker was used to help ascertain the location.

“It’s actually becoming quite commonplace in our search and rescue operations now up there that people that are phoning in are actually providing the numbered markers and those are aiding us in quickly identifying their location,” said Balderston. “Whereas previously if a cellphone was used, we’d have to go through a more complex process of triangulating or going through the phone companies to determine a location using cellphone signals and this is definitely aiding in a quicker response and location of those that are in need.”

In an e-mail, Andy Watson, from the B.C. Coroners Service, said it is very early in the investigation and no further details are currently available.