A man found in the North Shore bush after 10 days in the wilderness was so certain he was going to die he had written his name, phone number and other information on his arm to help identify his body, says a leader in the rescue unit that assisted him.
Tim Jones of North Shore Search and Rescue said it was a first among the 1,400 search and rescue calls he has done in his 24 years in the field.
“I thought that it was a tattoo,” Mr. Jones said Sunday. “He said, ‘I want to make sure people know who I am if they find my body,’ ” Mr. Jones said Sunday.
“He felt that the end was near.”
Mr. Jones said that feeling was accurate.
“He was very close to the end when he was found,” he said, noting the man was suffering from severe dehydration, was hallucinating and wasn’t able to elaborate entirely on what had happened. Mr. Jones said the man had a small amount of food and water.
Michael St. Laurent, 45, was found Saturday in Hanes Valley about five kilometres north of Grouse Mountain by an off-duty member of the north shore operation, who happened to be out jogging.
His car was left in a Grouse Mountain parking lot around Oct. 13 and he was reported missing a few days later. A search failed to find him.
A helicopter was unable to get in until Sunday to evacuate him from the area so Mr. Jones and an another SAR member tended to the North Vancouver resident throughout the night. Among other things, they treated him with morphine for his pain.
He said Mr. St. Laurent went out hiking without telling anyone where he was going. He also left his cellphone in his car, parked on Grouse. “We don’t really know what he was thinking,” he said.
Mr. Jones said Mr. St. Laurent had plenty of water from streams, but apparently stopped hydrating himself as he began to hallucinate. He was eating berries.
Mr. Jones said Mr. St. Laurent survived partly because he didn’t panic – “if you panic, you exhaust all your reserves psychologically and physically” – and also because he had a tarp to protect himself.
However, he said there are a number of unanswered questions about the matter, including Mr. St. Laurent’s plans. “It’s very difficult to ascertain what was going on with him,” he said of Mr. St. Laurent.
Mr. St. Laurent, who was in Lion’s Gate Hospital on Sunday in stable condition, told CTV he was out for a one-day hike that went awry after he got stuck in the bush, and then waited for help. He said he heard search crews looking for him, but was unable to call out to them.