WATCH: A woman who spent three days lost in the Whistler backcountry has been found safe. Jill Bennett reports on the rescue of Julie Abrahamsen.
Her friends are calling it a miracle.
Julie Abrahamsen, a 20-year-old snowboarder from Norway last seen on Wednesday at Whistler Blackcomb, was found alive several kilometres from Blackcomb Mountain early this afternoon with no serious injuries.
“It’s not just three normal days. It’s three days of extremely inclement weather,” says Brad Sills, a senior manager with Whistler Search and Rescue. “It’s a great survival story.”
Abrahamsen was rescued from an area near Wedge Mountain early this afternoon to a nearby helipad, where she was then taken to a local hospital. Lost in the Whistler backcountry for three days, she was soaking wet but able to stand on her own as she went from the helicopter to an ambulance. She’ll spend the night in hospital for observation.
“To find somebody with a strong spirit that’s able to endure that past three night’s weather, that’s a big win for all of us,” said Sills.
Abrahamsen had been vacationing in Whistler since January 1, snowboarding most days. She didn’t return to her apartment on January 21 and her last cardscan was on the Glacier Express around 11 a.m. that day. Friends reported her missing on Friday, and Whistler RCMP, Search and Rescue and Whistler Blackcomb ski patrol began searching the mountain and surrounding areas.
Whistler RCMP Sgt. Rob Knapton says the turning point came when a helicopter pilot noticed tracks in the backcountry.
“He was the one that picked up the tracks, and relayed them to the SAR manager at the time…that’s a large part why we were successful,” says Sills.
Halfway around the world, her parents were beyond grateful when they received word she was safe.
“We are so grateful to God, the rescue workers and the police,” said her father Knut Peder Abrahamsen, who had a short telephone conversation with Julie after she was rescued.
“The rescue crew said that if she had continued to walk, she would have had two days left before reaching the main road.”
“She was cold, tired and wet, but she smiles and laughs.”
Late Saturday, Abrahamsen posted the following message to Facebook:
A friend of Abrahamsen’s posted this photo to Facebook following her rescue from the Whistler backcountry.
– With files from Alexander Klanderud, TV 2 Norway