TRABUCO CANYON (CBSLA.com) — Search crews Thursday rescued an 18-year-old hiker who had been missing since Easter Sunday near a waterfall in Trabuco Canyon.
Kyndall Jack had gone on a hike with 19-year-old Nicolas Cendoya, who was rescued Wednesday night from a rugged ravine near Holy Jim Falls, Orange County Fire officials said.
Members of a rescue crew heard a distressed voice Thursday morning and were able to locate Jack less than a mile from where she and Cendoya had left their vehicle.
Sky2 was overhead as Jack was hoisted into a Sheriff’s helicopter that took her to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where she is currently in stable condition.
A reserve deputy sheriff who sustained a head injury when he fell 60 feet during Thursday’s rescue was airlifted to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, where Cendoya is also being treated, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Cendoya, who is recovering from dehydration and disorientation, is in serious but stable condition. The sheriff was in serious condition, but his injury was not life threatening.
Officials say Jack’s family was notified about the rescue immediately.
“They cried. They hugged us. They thanked us immensely,” Capt. John Muir of the Orange County Fire Authority said.
Cendoya told doctors that he and Jack became separated as they hiked on Sunday night. They had tried to call Orange County Sheriff’s deputies for help finding their way back to their car, but 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. Several law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol, assisted with Thursday’s rescue.
LA County Sheriff’s Search And Rescue Reserve Chief Mike Leum told KCAL9’s Stacey Butler that when they first encountered Jack, the brush was so thick they could hear her cries for help but had no idea where she was. “We told her, ‘Don’t move. We’re coming to get you,'” he said.
“First she saw me and I could not see her so I was screaming, ‘Can you see me?’ and she said ‘Yes.’ And I could not see her,” Leum said. “She was on top of a rock behind a bush. And I asked her to wave.”
Leum says when they rescued the young woman she was “complaining of shortness of breath and had difficulty breathing. She was in pain, obviously, completely dehydrated, very weak. She was going in and out of consciousness.”
Cendoya and Jack, both of Costa Mesa, are students at Cal State Fullerton.