Teen camper rescued near Grand Bay-Westfield
Search team locates 15-year-old in woods, kilometres away from friends
A group of teenaged hikers got more of an adventure than they bargained for this week in the wilderness near Grand Bay-Westfield.
After hours of hiking in the Turtle Mountain area, Jean-Luc Whittaker, 15, and his two friends set up camp for the night.
Whittaker separated from his friends to find more fresh water and that's when things went bad.
"I got lost on the way back," he said.
Whittaker didn't know he was lost at first, he simply thought he misjudged the distance back to where his friends were camped.
But after an hour of clawing through the thick underbrush he knew he was lost.
With less than half of his cellphone battery left he made a call and put his survival training to use.
"I called 911," he said.
"They told me to just stay there. So I lit a fire and waited around."
RCMP and forest rangers tracked Whittaker's cellphone signal and spent hours searching for him.
Lance Crain was one of the forest rangers in the search party.
"We yelled back and forth and, you know, communicated with him and he wasn't dishevelled or worried or anything. He was pretty calm," said Crain.
Whittaker had overshot his friends' location by several kilometres.
Despite the mistake, Whittaker was very smart about what happened, said Crain.
"The first thing he did right was he stopped and called for help," he said.
"The second thing is he stayed put. And he didn't panic."
As for Whittaker, he said he's learned from his time lost in the woods, but it won't keep him from hiking or camping.
"Definitely not, I wasn't that worried when I got lost and I probably won't get lost again because I'm not going to wander off alone," he said.
Rangers reunited Whittaker with his friends and the group returned home together.