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Hiker found alive after being stranded in Oregon wilderness for 17 nights shares survival story

Written by on July 16, 2021

A 69-year-old hiker who was discovered alive two months ago after being stranded in the Oregon wilderness for 17 nights is now sharing his survival story with the public.

Harry Burleigh was reported missing on May 7 when he did not return home from a camping trip near Toketee — an area known for its natural waterfalls — according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.

The Douglas County Search & Rescue team located Burleigh 17 nights later on May 23, the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post.

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“We want to thank our local community, our friends, our family for all the love and the support and the energy and efforts that were brought to bear on this poor pilgrim who went out and got lost,” Burleigh said during a Thursday press briefing in his first time speaking out about his disappearance since he made his way out of the woods, according to the Mail Tribune.

Burleigh, whom the Mail Tribune described as an experienced hiker, told the press that he did not implement the “seven Ps” of planning: “Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.”

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His 17-day disappearance and the search effort that followed consisting of about 100 volunteers began as an overnight fishing trip, but Burleigh said everything took a wrong turn when he started down a trail that was supposed to be a quick hike and lost his way.

Authorities located Burleigh’s makeshift shelter and fishing tackle box on May 16, left him some supplies and left a note asking him to start a fire so they could track him down again.

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Sgt. Brad O’Dell said in a May 24 statement shared to the department’s Facebook page that finding Burleigh “was the outcome” everyone had “been looking for in this case.”

“It is because of our determined Search and Rescue Teams and the partnerships we have with other SAR teams from around the state, that Mr. Burleigh has been re-united with his family this evening,” he said. “The Sheriff’s Office wants to thank everyone who was involved in this mission.”

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