After a scary night lost in the woods, San Antonio woman is found safe

The Medina County Sheriff says the woman was reported missing around 4 p.m. Thursday at the park.

SAN ANTONIO — After a night in the deep woods with no water or supplies, a 63-year-old San Antonio woman was found by searchers at a rugged, remote park.

An aggressive rescue effort began just after 3 p.m. Thursday at the Hill Country State Natural Area southwest of Bandera.

It ended with relief around 10 a.m. Friday when officials said the woman followed a power line out of the woods and was seen by a member of the search party.

The woman, who had been out hiking with her husband Thursday afternoon, walked away from a picnic area and got lost, according to Captain Lonnie D. Cook with the State Park Police.

“She got off trail, got disoriented and lost,” Cook said.

As hours dragged on in the heat, Cook said the search became more urgent, eventually involving personnel from DPS,  San Antonio Police, Texas Game Wardens, the Medina County Sheriff’s Department, and the Bandera County Sheriff’s Department and Fire Departments.

“The information we received was that she had gone off on the trail not with the intention of a prolonged hike, so she did not have any water or anything with her, and that was a concern for us, and that increased our urgency to locate her,” Cook said.

As day stretched into night, the San Antonio Police Department EAGLE helicopter joined the effort.

“She did see the SAPD helicopter last night. She said she tried to wave at it, but they didn’t see her because of the real thick underbrush,” Cook said.

The group scoured the hills until about 2 a.m. and then returned around first light. The woman said she had walked through the thick underbrush most of the night and when she found a break in the vegetation under a power line she decided to see if she could make her way to safety.

Cook said the woman was taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out “EMS arrived to treat her and she had scratches and abrasions.”

Reflecting upon the summer travel season, Cook said being prepared before heading out on adventures is absolutely essential.

“One bottle of water is not an adequate supply!” Cook said. “It’s critical to review the weather forecast. Know the trail you’re going to be walking on. Go pick up a trail map and make sure someone knows where you’re at.”

Cook said across the state, everyone involved in the parks system is united in their wish for people to come have fun and then go home safely.

“We are adamantly encouraging people to understand that while it may be beautiful and it may feel comfortable under a shade tree at the headquarters building, when you get out on a trail that’s kind of in a remote area, those heat temperatures can get up to 90 or 95 in some locations, and over 100 and if you’re not adequately prepared there can be trouble,” Cook said. “Even animals, pets, can be stressed.”

With more than 5,000 acres of rugged canyons, and located about one hour’s drive from San Antonio, the preserve is a popular place for locals to get back to nature.

More information about being prepared to visit the park safely can be found on their website.

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