A massive search conducted by multiple agencies was able to find a 20-year-old hiker lost in the Kisatchie National Forest Saturday, according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones.
Corey Worsham was able to escort his sister Sommer Worsham home to Prairieville, La., Saturday evening, after an hours-long search of the forest.
The saga began around 1 p.m. Saturday when the Glenmora Police Department contacted the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office reporting that Rapides Parish Communications Center had received a 911 Call from Summer Worsham reporting while she was hiking on the Backbone Trail in Kisatchie National Forest she became lost.
When Worsham called 911, she informed operators she only had three percent battery life left on her cellphone and her GPS had her traveling in circles between Montrose Road and La. Hwy 119 in a clear cut.
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies with All-Terrain Vehicles, US Forest Service, Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Agents, Natchitoches Parish Fire District #4 with All-Terrain Vehicles and volunteer squirrel hunters immediately responded and began searching the area for Worsham.
Rapides and Natchitoches 911 Centers were able to provide a general grid search area for responding units, after collecting 911 Public Safety Answering Point with Automatic Location Identification vantage points
As the search was launched, 911 operators made contact with Worsham’s family in Ascension Parish, who confirmed she planned a hiking trip on Saturday morning.
Although an avid hiker, this was Worsham’s first hiking trip in Kisatchie Forest .
She arrived at approximately 8:20 a.m. and began her hike on Backbone Trail. She realized she was lost around 1 p.m. and contacted 911 requesting assistance, but then lost phone service due to the low battery.
Concerned, Worsham’s brother Corey traveled from Prairieville to help crews find his sister.
The search continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening, when search crews finally found the hiker unharmed and oh-so-grateful.
Worsham had collected rainwater, and was carrying mosquito repellant in case she “had to spend the night in the wilderness.”
Although an exhausted Worsham said she plans on hiking again in Kisatchie Forest, she added, “…just not alone.”
By 8 p.m., Worsham was being escorted home by her big brother, and all the first responders and volunteers who assisted in the search were able to breathe easily, after a job well done.