Footprints in snow lead to missing teenager

Castlegar teen Jessie Wright has been found after a four-night stint in the mountainous area north of the Nancy Greene junction.

A 19-year-old Castlegar teen has been found after a four-night stint in the mountainous area north of the Nancy Greene junction.

Jessie Wright was last seen Saturday afternoon in Castlegar and the RCMP issued a missing person report Monday morning.

The four-day ordeal came to a happy conclusion Wednesday morning when an RCMP helicopter spotted footprints near a trail that led to a cabin.

RCMP members were flown to the cabin where Wright was located.

Sgt. Laurel Mathew of the Castlegar RCMP said it was a “stroke of luck” that Wright stumbled across the cabin, where he was able to rest and dry his clothes.

Although initial reports stated he might be headed north, Matthew said it was timely tip that enabled the search to focus on the rail trail between Castlegar and Grand Forks.

“Out of the blue a lady called and said she saw him down by Celgar,” explained Mathew.

The Celgar plant is near the start of the Trans-Canada Trail that connects Castlegar to Grand Forks.

According to the police report, Wright was walking along the trail when he took a wrong trail and got lost.

RCMP and local Search and Rescue personnel focused their search on that region but weather and darkness hampered the ground and air search.

“Then another fellow, who was out quadding, called and said he saw a set of footprints in the snow,” explained Mathew.

The search resumed Wednesday morning and the helicopter pilot spotted the footprints.

Mathew said Wright spent the night at the cabin on Tuesday but simply walked and rested during the three previous nights.

“He had the sense to rest for a while and keep walking,” she said, adding the depth of the snow made walking a difficult task. “He is exhausted, cold, hungry, and very stiff from walking through very deep snow for over three days, but it appears he will be fine.”