GLENIFFER LAKE – After three days alone in the bush and thousands of man-hours spent trying to find her, Lorraine Vandenbosch walked out alone from danger and is now in safe hands and receiving medical attention.
The 78-year-old Didsbury woman was located by a RCMP helicopter this morning (June 1) at about 9:30 a.m. as she was walking out of a heavily wooded area near the Dickson Trout Pond.
She had been missing from the Dickson Point Campground since about 10:30 a.m. on May 29. Vandenbosch had been with family members at the campground.
Since that time scores of RCMP officers, volunteers and search and rescue personnel from Red Deer County, Sundre and Rocky Mountain House have been searching for the missing woman.
The search has included airplane and helicopter patrols, as well as volunteers on horseback and on ATVs.
“A helicopter is a very useful tool that we utilize when conducting searches simply because it's able to cover a lot of ground in a very short amount of time,” said RCMP Cpl. Troy Savinkoff. “We were able to utilize the RCMP resources with our helicopter and had it out first thing this morning.
“We're very pleased we are able to report it was successful in finding her,” he said, adding other search and rescue resources were immediately contacted. (They) directed the closest personnel to that area in order to pick her up and receive the medical attention she needed.
“The reports we've received is that medically she's actually in fairly good condition,” added Savinkoff. “She's been taken to hospital but surprisingly she's in pretty good shape, considering the length of time she had been out in the bushes.”
It is not known at this time how the elderly woman, who has mental impairment issues, was able to survive without food, water and shelter for three entire days and nights.
“Water, definitely water, might be the number one concern as well as the cold,” said Savinkoff.
He said that once Vandenbosch’s medical needs are thoroughly addressed RCMP will interview her to find out as best they can the circumstances that led to her disappearance.
“She will be interviewed, and the information about where she went missing, where she was found and some of those other details will be used for future searches as far as setting distances and limits and guiding principles for other searches that are done in the future,” said Savinkoff, adding everyone involved in the search and rescue operation is now relieved.
“It's hard when you have all those volunteers and you're making all those efforts, and you're not coming up with any successes,” he said. “But sometimes it takes a lot of perseverance, and it's good to see that they were still out there and were successful.”