COQUITLAM, B.C. — A Vancouver-area woman has been found safe after spending two nights lost in the woods with the three dogs she had been walking, police say.
Annette Poitras had been missing since Monday, when she and the dogs went for a walk in a rugged area of Coquitlam, not far from her home.
Waiting for news as hundreds of volunteers scoured the area was difficult, said her husband, Marcel Poitras.
"You just can't imagine what it feels like," he said after his wife was found. "I've had some dark days here. I woke up this morning and I just knew it, I knew she was coming home today."
Searchers on foot made voice contact with Poitras around 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
"And then the dogs lit up and started barking extensively, so we knew were on the right path and we got a team over to her to assess her," said Al Hurley, manager of Coquitlam Search and Rescue.
A helicopter was brought in to lift Poitras and the dogs from the marshy basin where they were found.
About 300 volunteer searchers from across the province helped in the search, Hurley added.
The area were the woman and dogs were found is outside of the trail network, away from where most people would venture, said RCMP Cpl. Michael McLaughlin.
He added Poitras was wearing footwear that wasn't ideal for the slippery conditions, and when she fell, she injured herself in a way that made it so she couldn't hike back out of the area on her own.
It's unclear what injuries she sustained or how she was able to survive in the cold without food or other supplies.
Poitras was taken to hospital, but is expected to make a full recovery, McLaughlin said.
"We're really, really happy when we can go to the family and bring news like this. It's a relief. It feels great," he said.
The three dogs were also in good condition.
"Dogs are tough," McLaughlin said. "They can go days without food. It's amazing how great their condition is, really."
Janet Kilberg's boxer, Roxy, is one of the dogs rescued alongside Poitras. Kilberg said she's thankful for the searchers and everyone who helped bring the group home safely.
"Everybody's healthy, everybody's happy that everybody's home," she said.
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