Rescuer describes discovery of lost hikers in Bedford

The pair was searching for a World War II plane that crashed on the mountain in 1943
Bedford Fire Crews used a drone's thermal camera to help find two lost hikers on Sharp Top...
Bedford Fire Crews used a drone's thermal camera to help find two lost hikers on Sharp Top Mountain(Bedford Fire Department)
Published: Dec. 26, 2021 at 2:54 AM EST
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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - What started out as a Christmas Day hike in search of a piece of history, ended with a Christmas day search for a pair of lost hikers.

“We get a lot of calls up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail for lost hikers, injured hikers and so forth. We’re always prepared to go up there,” says Matt Scott, Deputy Chief of the Bedford Fire Department.

According to Scott, the department got the call around 6 p.m. Christmas Day that two hikers were lost on Sharp Top Mountain.

Coordinates sent from the lost duo’s phone, and the thermal camera on the fire department’s drone, helped locate the pair.

“When we lifted the drone, we were able to find them via our FLIR camera,” he explains. “We walked in a couple of hikers from our department in to assist them back to where we were at.”

Fire officials say the hikers are brothers, 16 and 23 years old. They say they were off the hiking trail and looking for a World War II bomber that crashed into the mountain in 1943. The pair left at dusk and did not have the proper equipment to be hiking at night.

The Bedford Fire Department says they do not believe the hikers are from the county.

“When you are going hiking, prepare for temperature change,” notes Scott. “So, having the proper clothing, making sure you have a full battery charged on your cell phone, head lamps, any type of lighting, food, water. Don’t go off of trails, that’s where people tend to get lost.”

From lost to found, returning the most precious Christmas gift.

“It was a successful mission,” says Scott. “Unfortunately, not every mission is successful, but it felt good once we were able to locate them on the FLIR, find out exactly where they were and walk them back and get them back to their family.”

Original Story 12/26/21:

The Bedford Fire Department says two lost hikers are safe after being lost on Sharp Top Mountain.

The fire department was dispatched to Sharp Top Mountain Saturday night to help find two lost hikers. Crews used a drone and its thermal camera, and quickly located the hikers below Buzzards Roost.

Rescuers on the ground got to the two male hikers. Crews say the two had set off onto the trails before dusk without proper lighting or emergency equipment.

No injuries were reported.

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