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By Alexander Smith

SWAT teams were scouring a remote canyon in northern California early Wednesday after a search-and-rescue volunteer was shot while hunting for a missing hiker, officials said.

The volunteer was shot in the hip while they and two colleagues were searching for the 75-year-old hiker in Nevada County, around 65 miles northeast of Sacramento.

The approximate location where the search-and-rescue volunteer was shot in the hip in Nevada County, California, on Tuesday.Google Maps

The victim was airlifted to the hospital, Sgt. Bob Jakobs of Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said, although the patient's condition was not immediately clear.

Nevada County Sheriff's Office has been searching for the missing hiker for the past five days, Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal told NBC station KCRA. They were joined Wednesday by volunteers from Placer County Search and Rescue.

Three volunteers were searching a remote section of the Yuba River canyon when they heard two gunshots and one of them was struck, Royal told KCRA. Police did not release the victim's identity.

Helicopters and fire-fighting planes equipped with thermal imagining technology were deployed to look for the trio, who were sheltering at their location after the shots, according to police.

They were eventually located and the other two volunteers hiked out of the canyon with rescue while the victim was airlifted.

Tactical units from Nevada County and neighboring Placer County were now searching for the shooter, according to Jakobs.