Big Sur — Personnel from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue team were deployed over the weekend to assist in the search for a missing backpacker in the Big Sur area of Monterey County.
Arvin Nelson, 55, of Big Sur began hiking Aug. 6 at the China Camp trailhead in the Los Padres National Forest and was expected to arrive at the Big Sur Station trailhead on Aug. 14.
When Nelson, an experienced hiker, failed to show up by Aug. 16, his friends contacted the Monterey County Sheriff's Department and a search was initiated.
During this past weekend, more than 100 search and rescue personnel from throughout the state participated in the search, which stretched over 20 miles from the point where the backpacker was last seen to where he was scheduled to end his trip.
SBCSAR team members were flown by helicopter Saturday morning from the search staging area to the Ventana Wilderness east of Big Sur. From there, they performed an area search of Bear Basin north to Pine Valley, where they were flown out Sunday afternoon by a California National Guard Blackhawk helicopter back to the staging area.
As of this date, Nelson is still missing and the search is continuing.
The sheriff’s Search & Rescue team is an all-volunteer branch of the Sheriff’s Department trained to handle a variety of emergencies, including high-angle rock rescues, car-over-the-side accidents, downed aircraft, swiftwater rescues and medical emergencies.
The team is currently recruiting new members. If you are interested in giving back to your community in this important way, you are encouraged to attend a no-obligation recruitment meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at 66 S. San Antonio Road in Santa Barbara. Click here for more information.
— Kelly Hoover is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.