Six international college students were rescued Saturday night after they got lost on a sunset hike in the foothills above Santa Barbara’s Mission Canyon.
There were no injuries in the incident, which was resolved safely through the combined efforts of good Samaritans and the Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team, according to Sheriff’s Department spokesman Kelly Hoover.
Hoover said the six hikers, Chinese students at UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College, had embarked about 3 p.m. on a climb to the popular “Seven Pools” area, where they planned to watch the sun set. Afterward, however, she said they realized they were too far up Mission Canyon to make it back down the trail before dark.
With only the light from their cell phones, Hoover said, the students took stock of their situation and decided it was better to stay put and call for help than attempt to climb down the steep slope about 100 feet above one of the pools.
“Just before 7 p.m., one of the hikers called 9-1-1 to report they were lost, without lights, dehydrated and starting to get cold,” she said.
Hoover said the Search and Rescue Team was dispatched but, while they were en route up the trail, a group of four hikers descending from Arlington Peak heard cries for help. Two of the four climbed up to the stranded students and helped guide them down the steep trail with the illumination from their headlamps, she said.
Soon after, Search and Rescue personnel met up with the two groups and escorted all 10 hikers back down to the main trail and their vehicles.
The students, whose names have not been released, were all in good condition, Hoover said.
Hoover said the all-volunteer Search and Rescue Team asked to remind hikers to be aware of the time of day when on local trails and to always be prepared with water, food, warm clothes, flashlights and a cell phone.