TRABUCO CANYON (CBSLA.com) — One of two teenage hikers who disappeared on Easter Sunday in Trabuco Canyon in southeast Orange County was found alive Wednesday evening.
Rescuers discovered a “delirious” Nicolas Cendoya, 19, on Trabuco Creek Road around 9 p.m. after crews received a tip from a hiker that a man was at the bottom of a steep ravine off Holy Jim Falls.
An Orange County Fire Authority helicopter pilot, using night vision goggles, picked up Cendoya after making verbal contact with him.
KCAL9’s Stacey Butler reported Cendoya said, “I’m Nick. I’ve been down here for three days.”
The victim, who was barefoot and in shorts, was airlifted to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.
The public information officer for the hospital said Cendoya is in “serious condition.”
“When the paramedics did an assessment on him, they reported that he is very weak…severely dehydrated…he’s been out in the brush for days…and he’s slightly confused,” said Division Chief Kris Concepcion of the OC Fire Department.
The location of Cendoya’s friend, 18-year-old Kyndall Jack, remains unclear.
A helicopter is actively searching for the young girl. Heavy brush and zero visibility forced crews to call off a ground search overnight.
Authorities have been combing the Cleveland National Forest for the Costa Mesa residents for the past four days.
The teens contacted sheriff’s deputies by cellphone around 8:30 p.m. Sunday asking for help in finding their way back to their car, but their phone lost power before authorities were able to pinpoint an accurate GPS location.
After losing contact, deputies began looking on the ground, in the air and on horseback for the hikers in the area below Saddleback Peak.
On Tuesday, the search for the teens was narrowed down to the Holy Jim Canyon trailhead near Trabuco Canyon, where bloodhounds picked up a scent.
Volunteers from Orange, San Diego, Los Angeles and Riverside counties came out to aid in the search.
Cendoya and Jack are both students at Cal State Fullerton.