UPDATED: Three stranded hikers rescued from San Jacinto Mountains near “S” symbol
SAN JACINTO – Rescue operations were successful in assisting three stranded hikers, one of whom was a juvenile. The three were safely extracted off a high mountainous peak overlooking the San Jacinto Valley.
The three reportedly became lost and exhausted while hiking in the San Jacinto Mountains. A 911 caller reported at about 4:00 p.m. the three were near the well-known “S” symbol above Gilman Hot Springs, near the peak of the mountain. One of the three was reportedly injured and not able to walk. The caller also advised his cellular phone battery was dying and the three had no food, provisions or shelter with them.
The caller, who advised he was 17-years-old, reported that the three became stranded while hiking near the iconic S symbol. The caller believed he and his two friends had hiked about five miles away from the symbol, when one of the three fell approximately 20 feet down into a canyon. The victim who fell had reportedly suffered an unspecified injury to their foot and was reportedly unable to walk at the time.
Members of Riverside County Sheriff’s Aviation’s Unit located the stranded hikers within minutes of their first 911 call. Deputies in “Star98” used GPS coordinates from the caller’s cellular phone to find the victims, who were reportedly West of the S symbol, in a dangerous and inaccessible area.
Based on where the victim’s were located, team members from Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit (RMRU) and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) were notified and responded to assist with the rescue. Other emergency first responders were notified abut the rescue efforts as well.
Due to the precarious location of the victims, the rescue effort was expected to take several hours, and last well into the night-time hours of darkness, further hampering what was expected to be a difficult rescue.
At about 10:00 p.m., Deputy Armando Munoz spoke about the ongoing rescue efforts, explaining the three stranded hikers had been ordered to stay in their current positions to allow the aviation unit to easily locate them when a rescue was ready. At that time, it was believed a technical hoist might be necessary to safely rescue the stranded hikers from the side of the mountain.
At about 10:30 p.m., Munoz updated that the stranded hikers had been rescued from the mountainside and safely brought to the base of the mountain. Once the three were safely returned they were reunited with anxious family members and friends, who had been waiting for several hours for the safe return of their loved ones.
“The three had been hiking since early that morning and had become exhausted and unable to continue further,” Munoz explained. The 911 caller had reported their legs began cramping, leading to the hiker that fell into the ravine. “The three stranded hikers were eventually able to climb to a higher peak on the mountain, allowing for the sheriff’s aviation deputies and RMRU members to land and pick them up,” Munoz said.
The three hikers were evaluated and treated at the scene for minor injuries, including cuts and abrasions. All three declined further medical treatment at the scene. Munoz was able to confirm the ages of the three hikers as two 18-year-olds and a 17-year-old. Munoz also advised all three hikers were males.
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