BAKER CITY — Searchers found 11-year-old hiker Helaman Garcia in good health early Sunday morning after an overnight search for him that began Saturday in the Anthony Lakes Area.
Baker County Dispatch received a report of lost hikers shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday, according to a Baker County Sheriff’s Office press release. Search teams found the boy about 3:50 a.m. Sunday three-fourths of a mile east of Van Patten Lake.
Helaman was evaluated by an emergency room doctor who was part of the search team and found to be in good condition, Ashley McClay, public information officer for the sheriff’s department, said today.
“It could have been very tragic and it came out with a happy ending,” McClay said.
Helaman had gone on a day hike with a group that included his aunt and uncle, Jim and Rachel Schaeffer of La Grande, and three other young family members, whose names were not available in time for this report.
The group became separated on a trail near Van Patten Lake. The Schaeffers and the three other young people were able to hike out, but Helaman became separated from the group. He was wearing shorts and a light jacket during his overnight stay in the mountains.
The sheriff’s search and rescue team was activated along with officers from the sheriff’s department and Oregon State Police, the press release stated.
Grant County Search and Rescue sent multiple teams, including a K-9 team to help with the search. North Powder Fire and Rescue sent volunteers and Life Flight and Oregon State Police sent aircraft in the hope of sighting the boy from the air, the press release stated.
Once Helaman was found, as a safety precaution search teams waited until daylight to hike back out to reunite the boy with his family.
The sheriff’s office expressed appreciation to the staff at Anthony Lakes, who opened the lodge for the boy’s family and friends and the search and rescue team, which set up a staging area at the lodge.