Published April 04, 2013
A teenage hiker who disappeared Sunday in a Southern California forest has been found alive and transported to a local area hospital, just a day after her male companion was rescued.
Search crews heard the cries of Kyndall Jack, 18, and found her on a rocky ledge on a steep slope, fairly close to where Nicolas Cendoya, 19, was rescued Wednesday night.
"We started to close in. We heard the voice from all our ground crews and surrounded it and made contact with her." Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jason Park said. "It was very difficult to extract her."
One law enforcement officer was injured during the rescue
Rescuers say Jack was so exhausted and disoriented that it was unlikely she could have survived much more than another day. Authorities say Jack was having difficulty breathing when she was found Thursday. She didn't know the day of the week or how she had gotten to a rocky outcropping halfway up a steep ravine.
"She was kind of clinging to the ledge on the cliff side, kind of going in and out of consciousness," said Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Jim Moss, a paramedic who treated her. "We climbed up to her and could see she was in a lot of pain, obviously completely dehydrated and very weak.
"She wouldn't have made it much longer. She's really lucky," he told The Associated Press in an interview shortly after the rescue.
Jack and Cendoya had been missing since setting out on a hike in Cleveland National Forest. Cendoya made a 911 call for help on Sunday.
Cendoya was found severely dehydrated and without shoes by another hiker less than a mile from where the pair's car was parked. He was airlifted to a hospital and is said to be improving, but still in serious condition.
"He was extremely confused and disoriented," said Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jason Park
They found Cendoya eight-tenths of a mile south of where much of the search had focused, about 500 feet from a dirt road that sees regular vehicle traffic. He was surrounded by so much vegetation that the helicopter rescue crew had trouble keeping track of him once they found him.
"When the rescuer was lowered he lost sight of him," said Division Chief Kris Concepcion of the Orange County Fire Authority. "That's how thick the brush was."
When he was found he was wearing board shorts, a shirt but no shoes.
"He's strong, he's young, he's a healthy young man, and he's pulling through," Kaplan said.
Jack was found in similar condition, dressed in a pair of dirty athletic shorts, a hoodie and socks, having also lost her shoes.
Her rescuers said she couldn't remember what day it was or even that she had gone hiking. She had no idea how she had gotten on to the steep, rocky canyon outcropping where they found her.
She was suffering from low blood pressure, shortness of breath and had pain in both legs and one hand.
Despite that, she suffered no major internal injuries and was listed in good condition at the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center, said hospital spokesman John Murray.
Several dozen searchers with help from helicopters had been combing the rugged hills of Trabuco Canyon in the national forest.
Two volunteers got lost themselves and had to be airlifted out Wednesday afternoon. They were searching the area because the Sunday 911 call was traced to a nearby cell tower, Muir said.
The area is in a section of the national forest in the Santa Ana Mountains, which lie along the border of Orange and Riverside counties southeast of Los Angeles. The trail ranges in elevation from about 2,000 feet to about 4,000 feet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.