Rescue helicopter almost left stranded man behind because he looked happy

A rescue helicopter almost left a stranded hiker behind 'because he looked happy'.

Emergency services were called by a hiking group who travelled between Surprise Lake and Upper Cataract Lake in Colorado after they noticed that one of their members did not return to camp the night before.

The initial aerial search team failed to find the man who went missing without any means of finding his way, or communicating, on Wednesday (September 14).

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According to rescue crews, the group had gone off trail in the swampy dense foliage, which meant the ground search was taking time.

Fortunately, however, the Blackhawk pilot spotted someone they thought could be the missing hiker.

Anna Debattiste of the Summit County Rescue Group told KCNC-TV: "He [the pilot] radioed that they had a subject that partially matched the description, but not completely only because his backpack was upside down, so it was the wrong colour."

Fellow rescue team member, Spencer Wilson, aded: "Basically the Blackhawk pilot looked down and saw someone who kind of matched the description of who they were looking for and the man looked back up and kinda waved hello so the pilot said 'i guess he is fine' and flew off."

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According to survival expert James Mandeville, raising both hands over one's head is recognised internationally as a call for help.

Conversely, raising just one hand in the air with the other pointed to the ground is a way to signal that support is not needed.

"An effective way to signal a helicopter is with big gestures such as waving both arms vigorously over one's head, or waving a bright-coloured piece of clothing," said James.

The ground rescue team eventually found the man and brought him to safety, where he was described as uninjured, but tired, dehydrated and cold.

However, according to the search and rescue team the missing hiker did the right thing by staying put during the night to avoid danger and moved out in the morning so the rescue team could find him.

The team added that the most important lesson to take home from the incident for other hikers is for anyone going out in the woods in similar terrain, to take a map or compass or a gps or a smart phone.

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