Alaska Hiker rescued after using a bear cam to ask for help (video)

Normally, when people go to one of's bear cams, they see bears — or at least a bear's habitat. But on Tuesday around 3:15pm, during a bout of windy, rainy weather in Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve, some viewers tuned in to spot not a bear, but a man in distress, surrounded by thick fog, who walked up to the camera and flashed a thumb's-down gesture. Moments after walking away, he returned to the camera asking for help, but according to The New York Times, his words "were drowned out by the wind." (See part of this in the video below, posted by

That's when viewers of the livestream intervened, leaving comments on the site and contacting, who got in touch with rangers. "THERE IS A HIKER ASKING FOR HELP ON DUMPLING CAM," said one commenter. "I called the local PD and tried my best not to sound like a crazy bear person in Oklahoma. … I gave as much information as I could and am hoping help gets to him quickly."

Fortunately, thanks to viewers, the organization's camera moderators, and Dumpling Mountain's park rangers, the hiker — who waited by the camera — was rescued a few hours later.

From NYT:

The hiker, who was not publicly identified, was found near the camera around 6:48 p.m., according to Footage from the camera shows two park rangers escorting the hiker off the mountain.

A spokeswoman for noted that this was the first time that the organization's cameras had been used in a search-and-rescue operation.

The rescue averted a potentially "serious" situation, according to Mark Sturm, the superintendent of the park. Temperatures can drop significantly overnight and can pose a threat to unprepared hikers, he said.