Friday, April 20 , 2018, 8:48 pm | Fair 55º


Local News

Crews Rescue Multiple Hikers from Cathedral Peak Area

Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue responds to two incidents Saturday afternoon

Emergency rescue crews kept busy late Saturday afternoon, responding to two search and rescue incidents around the Cathedral Peak area above Mission Canyon north of Santa Barbara.

In the first incident, about 3:21 p.m. Saturday, Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue was paged out to assist two hikers who had become disoriented just below Cathedral Peak.

The pair, a male in his late 50s and a female in her mid-40s from the Los Angeles area, were attempting to climb from Tunnel Road up to La Cumbre Peak. After reaching Arlington Peak they lost the trail and spent several hours crawling their way through brush until they reached the bottom of Cathedral Peak. Exhausted and running low on water, they called 9-1-1 for assistance.

SBCSAR made phone contact with the two hikers and was able to determine where they were, based on the description of the terrain and route the hikers had taken. SBCSAR responded with three ground teams to their location. A helicopter with the sheriff’s Air Support Unit was diverted from patrol duties and directed to the area of the missing hikers.

After locating the hikers, the helicopter dropped water to the pair. Using cell phones, SBCSAR then directed the man and woman safely back to the trail so they could return to their vehicle, which was parked near Tunnel Trail.

As SBCSAR was coordinating the first incident, emergency dispatch received a report of a hiker on Tunnel Trail with a fractured ankle. A 55-year old woman from Camarillo was with a group of hikers when she slipped backward over a rock, causing the fracture. Unable to travel farther, the group called 9-1-1 for help. In addition to SBCSAR, emergency personnel from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service and an American Medical Response ambulance responded.

SBCSAR placed a team member on the sheriff’s helicopter that was already on scene for the first incident. Using GPS, the SBCSAR team member determined the hikers were actually on the steep portion of the Cathedral Peak Trail, about a fifth of a mile below La Cumbre Peak. Rescue personnel from SBCSAR and the U.S. Forest Service were sent to La Cumbre Peak to start hiking down with medical gear and a stretcher to the injured subject.

Given the steepness of the location, Copter 309 of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department was requested to perform a hoist rescue. Personnel with the U.S. Forest Service reached the injured hiker and, after splinting her fractured ankle, assisted in hoisting her up to Copter 309, which then flew her down to a loading zone on Spyglass Ridge. SBCSAR and County Fire personnel then transferred the woman to paramedics for ground transport to Cottage Hospital.

SBCSAR and U.S. Forest personnel then assisted the remaining hikers up to La Cumbre Peak.

SBCSAR reminds the public, while generally a safe activity, hiking on wilderness trails can sometimes cause injuries. To help rescue personnel, it is important to know what trail you are on. In both of the incidents the locations were initially incorrectly given to dispatchers. In addition, SBCSAR recommends hikers take more water than they think they require and a basic first aid kit.

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

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