Rescuers in Colorado learned the hard way that sometimes “hello” looks a lot like “I need help.”
On Wednesday, the Summit County Rescue Group received a report of two hikers waving and yelling from the north ridge of Quandary Peak, the group said in a Facebook post.
Three rescue teams of six rescuers were dispatched along the trail armed with rope gear, the post said. They believed the two men were stuck, unable to climb up or down.
As rescue teams made their way to the men, they talked with other hikers descending the trail and learned the hikers in need weren’t in need at all — they were just friendly.
“We eventually figured out that the ‘distressed’ party was just a couple of friendly Canadians saying hello to the hikers on the trail!” the post said.
The duo told rescuers they believed the international sign for distress is two arms raised to the sky making a “Y,” not just a wave, the Denver Channel Reported.
Still, rescuers say it’s easy for waving to be misconstrued.
“The learning point, if there is one, is that... well, hey, we love friendly Canadians, or any other friendly hikers, just as much as the next guy,” the post says. ”But it might be a good idea to make sure that your wave doesn’t look like a distress signal.”
Despite the confusion, rescuer Jim Koegel says the hikers were appreciative of the help.
“It was a good outcome, and in fact, when we talked to them, they made a donation to the [rescue] team,” Koegel told the Denver Channel. “It was not a total waste of time.”