A one-vehicle accident on a dirt road deep within Los Padres National Forest ejected both occupants and led to a dramatic, multiagency rescue attempt Saturday. One victim died of his injuries.
An off-road dirt bike rider came upon the crash scene about 2:45 p.m. Saturday and called for help, the California Highway Patrol said Sunday. The initial report was that a vehicle had overturned and that the occupants had been ejected.
Santa Barbara County firefighters responded by four-wheel-drive to the scene, the CHP said. Firefighters had to rappel down an embankment to rescue the two victims, who had been thrown from the BMW sedan. Because of the remoteness of the location, a CalStar 7 life flight helicopter was dispatched to airlift both victims to a U.S. Forest Service facility on San Marcos Pass, where they were transferred to an AMR ambulance and driven to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
One victim, Vincent Ornelas, 27, of Carpinteria, had facial lacerations and complained of pain to his abdomen and neck. He remains hospitalized.
The other victim, whose name has been withheld pending family notification, had a lacerated liver and underwent emergency surgery. He died of his injuries Saturday evening.
CHP investigators Sunday were still trying to determine which victim was the driver and which was the passenger. Although alcohol is not suspected, a routine toxicology will be conducted as confirmation and to determine whether other intoxicants were involved.