The Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue team and a Sheriff’s Aviation helicopter were called Wednesday night to rescue a 31-year-old San Diego man who got lost near Gibraltar Dam.

The man, along with some family and friends, had been hiking the backcountry east of the Red Rock day-use area north of Santa Barbara before hiking up the Santa Ynez River to Gibraltar Dam.

About 3:30 p.m., the man became separated from his brother and other members of his party. The man, who had consumed a large amount of beer, decided to sit down and wait for help, but he soon fell asleep and did not hear his family calling for him.

After nearly an hour of searching, the man’s brother hiked out to Red Rock and drove to the Paradise Ranger Station, where he called 9-1-1 shortly before 8 p.m. Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue and Sheriff’s Aviation Copter 2 began a search from the ground and air in the Santa Ynez River drainage area just below Gibraltar Dam.

An SAR ground team made voice contact with the subject and was able to break through heavy brush to reach him. After SAR EMTs completed a medical evaluation, the man, with the assistance of SAR personnel, was able to hike out of the dense brush to a SAR vehicle.

He was then transported back to the SAR Command Post at the Paradise Ranger Station to be reunited with his family and friends.

— Drew Sugars is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.