Wednesday, April 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Hikers rescued after days in wilderness

This photo provided by Los Angeles County Search and Rescue reserve Deputy Doug Cramoline shows Thursday's helicopter rescue of Kyndall Jack, 18, by an L.A. County deputy in rugged country near Rancho Santa Margarita.   AP photo

This photo provided by Los Angeles County Search and Rescue Reserve Deputy Doug Cramoline shows the helicopter rescue of Kyndall Jack, 18, by an L.A. County deputy after being missing for five days in rugged country near Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Thursday, April 4, 2013. A rescue team followed the sounds of a screaming female voice to an almost vertical canyon wall where they found Jack clinging to a rocky outcropping after going missing during a last Sunday. (AP Photo/L.A. County Search and Rescue Reserve, Deputy Doug Cramoline)

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA (AP) — At first, the rescuers couldn’t believe their ears: After four days of grueling searching, they suddenly heard a faint female voice calling for help.

Over the next 90 agonizing minutes, the cries for help — and first faint, and then louder — led the search and rescue crew across a canyon, into a drainage and up several waterfalls to a near-vertical slope where lost hiker Kyndall Jack was clinging to rocky outcropping no bigger than a yoga mat.

The 18-year-old, who had been missing in Southern California’s Cleveland National Forest since Sunday, had no shoes, was having trouble breathing and was severely disoriented from dehydration when she was found Thursday. The first thing she asked was what year it was, said Los Angeles County Reserve Deputy Fred Wenzel, who reached her first. Then, she asked for her mother.

“She was filthy from head to toe, her lips were black with dirt, her eyes were barely open and she had on no shoes,” said sheriff’s Deputy Jim Moss, a paramedic who was dropped to her by helicopter and airlifted her to safety in a harness. “She was just kind of clinging to the ledge on the cliff side, going in and out of consciousness.”

Her rescuers were afraid to give her water, despite her extreme dehydration, because she had so much dirt in her mouth she could choke, Wenzel said.

“She was limp and almost lifeless. I was just holding her as the crew chief brought us up and just holding onto her, bringing her in,” Moss said of the airlift.

“She wouldn’t have made it much longer. She’s really lucky.”

Jack’s dramatic rescue brings a happy end to a saga that gripped Southern California since Easter, when Jack and her friend, 19-year-old Nicolas Cendoya, called 911 to report that they were lost and out of water after wandering off the trail during what they expected would be an easy day hike on the Holy Jim Trail.

The popular trail is in the Cleveland National Forest, where the dangers of 720 miles of rugged mountain wilderness run smack up against the planned communities and shopping malls of suburban southeast Orange County. Jack and Cendoya, who was rescued late Wednesday after being spotted by hikers, parked their car off a dirt road just a few miles from an upscale neighborhood where on Thursday children bounced on trampolines and customers sipped lattes at a Starbucks in an outdoor strip mall.

The two got separated sometime Sunday night and were both found less than a mile from their car and “very, very close” to one another, although they did not know it, said Lt. Jason Park, an Orange County sheriff’s spokesman.

“I have no doubt that they came out here with the best of intentions … but this is a complicated environment and before you know it, you’re lost,” he said, adding that having civilization so close can lull some hikers into a false sense of security. “It’s just as dangerous today out here as it was on Sunday afternoon.”

Despite their joy at finding both hikers alive, rescuers anxiously awaited word on the condition of a reserve deputy who suffered a head injury when he fell 60 feet down the canyon. He was also flown to a hospital where he was in serious condition but expected to survive, said Park.

Many details of the pair’s ordeal remained a mystery and officials hoped to question them more closely once they were rested and more stable.

It’s unclear, for example, why Jack and Cendoya went off the well-marked trail and how much water they had with them. It’s also unclear exactly when and how they got separated.

Before his cellphone’s battery died, Cendoya was able to make a 911 call — and already the pair seemed in trouble.

“He was panting and said, ‘We’re out of water.’ You could hear Kyndall in the background,” said Orange County fire Capt. Jon Muir. “He said, ‘I think we’re about a mile or two from the car,’ and he was right about the distance but in totally the wrong direction.”

Cendoya was found Wednesday night in shorts and a shirt but missing his shoes and told doctors he’d become separated from Jack sometime Sunday night. He was flown to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, where doctors said he was being treated for severe dehydration, scratches and bruises. He was expected to remain for several days.

Park said Cendoya was “extremely confused and disoriented,” when he was found just 500 feet from a heavily traveled dirt road, giving an added urgency to the effort to find his friend.

Cendoya said on his Facebook page late Thursday that he’s doing OK and not “in as much pain.” He said he was upset that Jack still remained in the forest despite his rescue but is thankful she was found.

“Can’t wait to see her and give her a hug and tell her we did it,” Cendoya said.

Jack was found in similar condition, dressed in a pair of dirty athletic shorts, a hoodie and socks, having also lost her shoes. She had low blood pressure, trouble breathing, pain in her legs and right hand and was fading in and out of consciousness when rescuers reached her, Moss said. It was unclear how she wound up on the precarious ledge and she was too ill to tell her rescuers, they said.

She had no memory of going hiking or of being with Cendoya, they said.

Despite that, she suffered no major internal injuries and was listed in good condition at the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center, said hospital spokesman John Murray.

Like Cendoya, she was being treated for dehydration and was expected to be hospitalized for several days.

At Mission Hospital, Dr. Michael Ritter told reporters Cendoya said he survived by taking shelter at night in heavy brush and passing his days by praying.

“He’s got a lot of faith in the Lord, which I think will help him to work his way through this,” Ritter said shortly before Jack was located.

Cendoya’s Facebook page says that he’s a 2011 graduate of Orange County’s Costa Mesa High School and a student at Orange Coast College. A number of photos show the athletic-looking young man working out and lifting weights.

The area where the two got lost is in a section of forest in the Santa Ana Mountains that lies along the border of Orange and Riverside counties southeast of Los Angeles. The trail ranges in elevation from about 2,000 feet to about 4,000 feet.

————

By Gillian Flaccus. Associated Press writers John Rogers, Andrew Dalton, Christopher Weber and Robert Jablon contributed to this story from Los Angeles.

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

New mosaic mural reflects Peña family history

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
UC Davis biodigester hungers for food scraps, belches out electricity

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Team Blend hosts fundraiser for Nicaragua project

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

 
Sign up for enviro organizations during Earth Week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis businesswoman presides over conference

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Bible fun featured at Parents’ Night Out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Fire damages Woodland home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

 
Davis Arts Center: See ceramics, join the Big Day of Giving

By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Register to vote by May 19

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Birch Lane sells garden plants, veggies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sunder hosts campaign event for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Fundraiser benefits Oakley campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Odd Fellows host culinary benefit for nonprofit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UCD to host premiere of autism documentary

By Cory Golden | From Page: A4

400 bikes go up for bids at UCD auction

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Fire crews gather for joint training

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
UFC hears from two local historians

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Church hosts discussion of mental health needs, services

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UC Davis conference showcases undergraduate research

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Train to become a weather spotter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Fly Fishers talk to focus on healthy streams, rivers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Learn survival skills at Cache Creek Preserve

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Veterans, internees may receive overdue diplomas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

UCD professor to talk about new book

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Slow Food tour showcases area’s young farmers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

.

Forum

Will anyone notice?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
My votes reflect city values

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

I support Sunder for board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
A plea on the Bard’s birthday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Sharing fire services has been a success

By Our View | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Walchli is under par in another Devil victory

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DHS/Franklin I goes to the Blue Devil softballers

By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS thunders back to win an epic DVC volleyball match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Seniors send Blue Devil girls past Broncos in a lacrosse rout

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Davis gets to Grant ace and rolls in DVC crucial

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Sharks go up 3-0 with OT win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Rangers rally to beat A’s in the ninth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

Field to fork: El Macero’s chef offers spring tastes

By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

Celebrate spring at I-House on Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Music, wine flow at Fourth Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Biscuits ‘n Honey will play at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Five Three Oh! featured at April Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Catharine ‘Kay’ Lathrop

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6