King County Search and Rescue (KCSAR) Public Information volunteer Alan LaBissoniere said search crews, along with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), responded to Mount Si in North Bend Friday morning, March 18, 2016 to locate hikers who became lost after encountering bears.
King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Sgt Cindi West said around 10:30AM they received a call from four females who became lost on the mountain after running from two bears they encountered while hiking.
Sgt. West said the women ran into what appeared to be a mother bear and a yearling, became frightened and ran deep into the woods – and became lost. She stated that the women reported the bears followed them, which caused them to run farther off of the trail.
SAR crews used a cell phone GPS signal to locate the women, hiked in and escorted them off of the mountain around 3PM.
WDFW also responded to Mount Si as bears were involved in the incident, but what their response will be regarding the animals is unknown at this time. West said it was not clear if the bears were just following the women because they ran – or actually chasing them.
In a TV news interview after they were rescued, the four girls who had hiked to see the sunrise after finishing their college finals, said they had originally left the trail to avoid some icy areas, and that was when they ran into the bears.