Viewers of a wildlife livestream who hoped to see one of Alaska’s famed “fat bears” earlier this week spotted an entirely different creature ― a lost human hiker.
The unidentified man made his appearance Tuesday afternoon on the Dumpling Mountain live camera at Katmai National Park.
In the summer months, viewers flock to the park’s livestreams to see brown bears in the process of fattening up for their winter hibernation. Dumpling Mountain’s “bear cam” provides a view of a landscape that, on Tuesday, was blanketed in fog and devoid of much action.
That changed with the sudden appearance of a soaking wet hiker, who hugged himself with crossed arms in the cold. Footage shows him approaching the camera and saying a few words, though he cannot be heard clearly in the audio.
Viewers quickly realized something was wrong. Some thought they could make out the words “lost” and “help me” on his lips, and he also gave the camera a thumbs-down, according to the BBC.
“There is someone distressed on the camera,” one viewer commented at 3:15 p.m., per the BBC. Some contacted Explore.org, the organization that partners with the park to provide the livestreams.
A "bear cam" livestreams brown bears fishing for salmon on Aug. 12 at Brooks Falls, Alaska.
Park rangers were able to get to the Dumpling Mountain location, which has no cell service, and bring the hiker to safety.
“The park sent a search and rescue team to find the hiker, who was caught in windy and rainy conditions with poor visibility,” National Park Service spokesperson Cynthia Hernandez told The Washington Post. “Park rangers found the hiker a few hours later, unharmed, and brought the hiker back to safety.”
While the rescue was underway, Explore.org naturalist Mike Fitz also told the hiker to stay put in a recorded message that was played through the camera.
The camera is located just 2 miles from a visitor center at the park’s Brooks Camp, but “it can feel like a world apart,” Fitz told USA Today. The weather gets rapidly worse with elevation, and “because the weather is so fierce, it’s just really difficult to get your bearings,” he added.