The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team located a missing 27-year-old hiker from San Diego after searching for hours. It took over 12 hours for the team to locate, reach and transport the hiker.
Friends of the missing hiker called 911 after the San Diego resident, and UCSB graduate, failed to show up for dinner. Search and Rescue was called out at 10:30 p.m. Thursday and disbursed different teams tasked with locating the missing hiker in the Cold Springs Trail area.
Search and Rescue personnel initially concentrated their efforts by sign-cutting the hiker’s car for his foot prints and interviewing his friends, said Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover.
At about 3 a.m. Friday, one of the Search and Rescue teams hiking above Tangerine Falls found the missing hiker after hearing a voice response from the man.
It took several hours for crews to make their way to the hiker. At 6 a.m., two Search and Rescue team members were able to reach the San Diego man, and provide him with extra clothing and water.
“A second SBCSAR team worked its way down from East Camino Cielo Road and used GPS and computer mapping programs to determine the best access to the hiker,” said Hoover. “At approximately 8 a.m. the second team was able to open up a wide enough trail through the brush to reach the hiker. All personnel along with the hiker then climbed up to the old trail and hiked to East Camino Cielo Road above them.”
The hiker was driven back to his car uninjured. The Sheriff’s Office says the hiker decided to take a shortcut up one of the mountains, and that’s when he went off trail. He soon found himself stranded in 8-foot brush. His used his cell phone to light his way as nightfall came, but eventually the phone’s battery died, and he decided to stay put.
Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue personnel want to remind the hiking public to always hike with someone that could help you in the event of an emergency, and carry appropriate gear for your safety. For more hiking safety tips, visit www.sbcsar.org.