NEWS

Ontario hikers lost in B.C. wilderness: Mother rejoices after son found

06/29/2015 03:19 EDT | Updated 06/29/2016 05:59 EDT
The 84-year-old mother of missing Ontario hiker Rick Moynan says she'd nearly lost hope, but could have leapt for joy when she heard her only son was rescued after seven days of praying he'd be safe.

Rick Moynan and Lynne Carmody were found near Cathedral Lakes, west of Keremeos, after surviving in a makeshift lean-to for almost a week.

"I thought I'd jump up and down — if I could," joked Rita Moynan, an 84-year-old from Bracebridge, Ontario. "I have to admit after so many days I'd started to lose hope."

Rick Moynan phoned his mother Monday to describe his ordeal, telling her that he'd lived at the base of a mountain in a makeshift lean-to. Rita was not sure what the couple ate, but says they had lots of experience in the wilderness.

"I told him — it's one thing to have your 15 minutes of fame but to take a whole damn week is a bit much!"

Moynan was an avid winter camper, who often took his own daughters camping, according to his mother.

"Rick is not stupid," said his mother."He really is a fine son."

Rick phoned family, while enjoying a beer on a deck, his mother said, and told her that he'd lost about 10 pounds because of the ordeal.

"The helicopter had taken the family up to say goodbye," said the hiker's elderly mother, underlining how close everybody came to giving up.

Comox Valley Search and Rescue were about to call off the search for the pair after a week, when Carmody and Moynan walked out of the woods to Cathedral Lakes lodge on Sunday afternoon. 

"It's absolutely amazing," said Jeff Smedley of Prince George Search and Rescue. 

"Seven days in the bush — they are alive and well and able to walk."

With minimal survival gear, no means to start a fire or even signal for help, Carmody and Moynan built themselves a shelter in a bush area.

Smedley said the pair had moved around, which created challenges for search crews.

The hikers were taken to hospital Sunday afternoon to be treated for dehydration. 

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