Volunteer searchers are being credited for locating a missing hiker early Sunday after she broke her ankle along a Riverside State Park trail.
Toni Sneva was found about 4 a.m. Sunday after she failed to show up for a hockey game in Spokane on Saturday night, police said.
Family members called the Spokane Police Department, and officers checked locations where she might have gone. A friend found her vehicle near Nine Mile Falls Dam.
A search over three square miles included a sheriff’s helicopter, 30 volunteers, the American Red Cross, medical personnel and Liberty Lake police. A school at Nine Mile was used as a command post.
Sneva, who was wearing lightweight clothing, had injured her ankle and became unable to walk during an afternoon hike. Her cell phone could not make a connection. As the temperature dipped into the 20s, hypothermia began to set in, police said. Sneva sat next to a tree for protection from wind. She threw a bag and an empty juice container toward a nearby trail.
A searcher on an all-terrain vehicle spotted the bag, looked around the area and found Sneva.
Spokane Police Officer Brian Eckersley said in a press release that she might not have survived without the search effort.
Officials said hikers always should carry enough clothing, food and water to survive overnight conditions. A small flashlight and fire starter are recommended. Also, it’s important to tell someone where you are going and when you will return, they said.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.