(CNN) – A missing fisherman was found alive after spending 17 nights in the Oregon desert, according to police.
Harry Burleigh, of Roseburg, Oregon, was reported missing on the night of May 7. His wife, Stacy, gave the tip after he failed to return home from a camping trip in the Toketee area. Burleigh, 69, was due to come home the day before, according to a press release dated May 9 from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
The Douglas County Search and Rescue Department found Burleigh’s vehicle near a lower trail leading to Twin Lakes on May 8 and determined that the fisherman may have attempted to walk to Twin Lakes to fish before returning home. , according to a previous press release.
The trail is in the Umpqua National Forest, which is located on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains, according to the National Park Service.
Search teams had been tracking the man ever since and even left food packages on the trails in hopes that he would find them. His wife shared updates on search efforts at a community Facebook group, indicating that on occasion there were 40 volunteers from eight counties participating in the mission.
Searchers searched the area for days for any sign of Burleigh and had arrived empty-handed, according to police. On May 16, they had a big break when searchers found a tackle box and makeshift shelter belonging to Burleigh. But they did not find the missing fisherman.
“They left him a note and a lighter and told him to make a fire and that they would come back for him tomorrow,” Stacey wrote on Facebook. “The team took another 6 hours to get out.”
A week later on Sunday, rescuers discovered a second makeshift shelter southwest of the original, and after calling Burleigh, they heard him respond, according to the press release.
“He was found to be walking and complaining of mild pain, but was in stable condition,” said Sunday’s press release. “A Brim Aviation helicopter was used to hoist Burleigh from his location and transport him to a waiting Lifeflight helicopter.”
Burleigh was evaluated at the hospital and was reunited with his family Sunday night, according to the news release.
“This was the outcome we were all looking for in this case,” Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brad O’Dell. “The Sheriff’s Office wants to thank everyone who participated in this mission.”
At least 18 entities assisted in Burleigh’s rescue, according to the press release.