LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — The crew of Air Rescue 5 recalled Friday the daring life-saving measures they took to save a missing hiker in Orange County’s Trabuco Canyon.
Kyndall Jack, 18, was hoisted to safety by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter crew around 12:20 p.m. Thursday after spending four days in the Orange County wilderness.
Jack and 19-year-old Nicolas Cendoya went missing Easter Sunday while hiking. Cendoya, who became separated from Jack, was rescued on Wednesday night near Holy Jim Falls and is recovering at Mission Hospital.
Jack was first spotted Thursday by a reserve Orange County Sheriff’s deputy who then called in Air Rescue 5.
“They dropped in a paramedic and he verified that he heard a female voice and then Air Rescue 5 inserted our field team,” Reserve Chief Mike Leum said.
Leum, along with another field team member and a paramedic, battled heavy brush and steep terrain to get to Jack.
“First she saw me and I could not see her so I was screaming, ‘Can you see me?’” he recalled. “I said start waving your arms so I can see you. ‘I can’t,’ she said, ‘I can only wave one arm.’”
Rescuers finally reached Jack who was positioned on a small ledge in the canyon.
“She was rolled up into the fetal position, she was going in and out of consciousness,” Deputy Jim Moss, who helped hoist Jack into the helicopter, said. “She kept asking for mom and I said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get you there.’”
Jack was transported via helicopter to UCI Medical Center in Orange. She was last listed in stable condition, suffering from dehydration and disorientation.
A search and rescue Orange County Reserve Sheriff’s deputy, who suffered a head-injury from a 60-foot fall, was also saved by Air Rescue 5 Thursday.
“We ended up having to climb numerous dry waterfalls and there was a lot of vertical areas where one slip, and you could fall,” Leum said.
The unnamed deputy was taken to Mission Hospital in serious, but stable condition with non-life threatening injuries.
Deputy Moss says that Thursday’s rescue would not have been possible without the help of his crew.
“When you are dangling down there, you are at the mercy of your crew,” Deputy Moss said. “Our whole crew just did an amazing job. It’s a team effort. I’m proud to be a member.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s eight Search and Rescue teams and the Air 5 Rescue helicopter average about 350 search and rescue missions every year, making it one of the most active counties for search and rescue missions in the nation. More than “100 Search and Rescue team members are Reserve Sheriff’s Deputies who give their valuable time and risk their lives on a moment’s notice — for $1 a year,” according to the LASD’s website.