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Coast Guard helicopter crew rescues 2 missing Lane County hikers who wrote ‘SOS’ in snow

NORTH BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A Coast Guard Sector North Bend MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew helped the Lane County Sheriff's Office in locating two 19-year-old males Saturday, reported missing after hiking near Swastika Mountain, about 32 miles east-southeast of Eugene.

Watchstanders at the Sector North Bend command center received an agency assistance request from the Oregon Office of Emergency Management that two individuals went camping on the mountain on or around Christmas Day and did not return from their trip as expected on Wednesday, Dec. 29.

Lane County sheriff's deputies dispatched ground parties to search the area after receiving a report on New Year's Eve that two hikers went missing.

Due to recent heavy snowfall in the area covering the mountain roads, Lane County requested Coast Guard helicopter support in locating the individuals.

The MH-65 aircrew hoisted the two men and transferred them to awaiting Lane County deputies at Eugene Airport.

During the search for the two men, the aircrew identified two additional persons in distress and passed their position to Lane County, who believed they were within range of their land party.

The two hikers reported no medical concerns.

"These young men did a lot of things right to give themselves the best chance of being rescued," said Lt. Maggie Champin, MH-65 aircraft commander with Sector North Bend. "By writing ‘SOS’ in the snow, staying near their vehicle and staying near logging roads, we were able to find them relatively quickly. We recommend hikers carry personal locator beacons while out in the back country.”

KTVZ News Team

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