TRABUCO CANYON (CBSLA.com) — A male hiker rescued after three days in the Orange County wilderness told authorities he “didn’t know” how he and his female companion got separated, officials said Thursday. Meanwhile, the search continued for the 18-year-old girl.
Nicolas Cendoya, 19, was barefoot and in shorts when he was spotted and rescued around 9 p.m. Wednesday in a rugged ravine near Holy Jim Falls, Orange County Fire officials said.
“At the time he was rescued, he believed she had already been rescued,” OC Fire Division Chief Michael Boyle told KNX 1070.
He was taken to Mission Viejo’s Mission Hospital in serious condition and placed in the intensive care unit, suffering from dehydration and disorientation.
Cendoya and Kyndall Jack had been missing since 8:30 p.m. Easter Sunday when they called Orange County Sheriff’s deputies for help finding their way back to their car.
Their cell phones 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 and in Trabuco Canyon.
Authorities resumed their search for Jack at daybreak Thursday using dogs and 100 trained searchers lowered into the rugged terrain by helicopter.
“We’re optimistic. We won’t stop till we find her,” said Cpt. John Muir of the OC Fire Authority.
The search effort was halted around midnight Wednesday due to very thick brush, heavy fog cover and pitch black conditions on the ground.
Cendoya and Jack, both of Costa Mesa, are students at Cal State Fullerton.