Human Interest Rescue Helicopter Leaves Behind Waving Man Who Was Lost in Colo. Wilderness: 'He's Saying Hi,' Pilot Thought The hiker was eventually rescued, and officials are now hoping to raise awareness about the correct way to signal distress By Jason Hahn Jason Hahn Jason Hahn is a former Human Interest and Sports Reporter for PEOPLE. He started at PEOPLE's Los Angeles Bureau as a writer and reporter in 2017 and interviewed the likes of Kobe Bryant, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Brady. He has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He previously worked for Complex Magazine in New York City. People Editorial Guidelines Published on September 13, 2022 04:08 PM Share Tweet Pin Email A helicopter rescue team left behind a stranded hiker last week after they confused his hand waves for a greeting. According to CBS affiliate KCNC-TV, a hiking group traveling between Surprise Lake and Upper Cataract Lake in Colorado called emergency services on Wednesday after one of their members did not return to camp the night before. After an initial aerial search team did not locate the man, another crew was sent into the area with a Blackhawk helicopter — and that's when they spotted someone the pilot thought could be the missing hiker. "He radioed that they had a subject that partially matched the description, but not completely only because his backpack was upside down, so it was the wrong color," Anna Debattiste of the Summit County Rescue Group told KCNC-TV. Debattiste told the news station that the team didn't initially believe the man was in trouble because he appeared to wave to them casually instead of raising both of his hands in the air. 12 People Rescued After Ride Stops Midair at Calif. Carnival "The pilot said, 'He's saying hi, he doesn't seem to be in distress,' so they left," Debattiste said. According to survival expert James Mandeville, raising both hands over one's head is recognized internationally as a call for help. But, conversely, raising one hand in the air with the other pointed to the ground is a way to signal support is not needed, Mandeville explained on his website. KCNC-TV reported that a ground team eventually found the man and brought him to safety. He was tired and dehydrated, but in good health, they reported. Pennsylvania Man Drowns in New Jersey Beach Ocean While Swimming with Son The Summit County Rescue Group hopes that "one lesson to be learned from this incident is how to signal a helicopter." "Our subject saw helicopters above him and knew that they must have been looking for him. He did the right thing by moving to an open area so they could see him," the group wrote in a Facebook post. "However, he waved at the pilots in a very slight gesture that they interpreted to mean he was simply saying hello and not in distress." RELATED VIDEO: Sailor Survives 16 Hours in Capsized Boat Before Rescue Off Spain "An effective way to signal a helicopter is with big gestures such as waving both arms vigorously over one's head, or waving a bright-colored piece of clothing," the group added.