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Local News

Cell Phone GPS, Glow Lead to Hiker’s Rescue on Cold Springs Trail

Sheriff's search and rescue squads, helicopter team up to find woman and her dog above Montecito

A coordinated effort involving the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team, a Sheriff’s Department helicopter and a cell phone led to the Friday night rescue of a Goleta woman lost in Cold Springs Canyon above Montecito.

Sheriff’s Department spokesman Drew Sugars said Saturday that a 60-year-old Goleta woman had gone for a late afternoon hike with her dog on Cold Springs Trail. After hiking up the trail she realized she was lost on an unfamiliar path on the mountain side of Cold Springs Canyon. Unable to proceed because of heavy brush and steep terrain, Sugars said the woman, whom he did not identify, used her cell phone to call 9-1-1 as darkness was falling.

Sugars said members of the all-volunteer search and rescue team and sheriff’s Aviation Copter 1 were dispatched to the area. Using GPS coordinates generated by the woman’s cell phone, Sugars said, SAR ground teams hiked into upper Cold Springs Canyon and began their search. Copter 1 was directed into the area by the SAR base, which was talking with the stranded hiker on her cell phone.

The helicopter crew used night-vision equipment to locate the woman by the glow of her cell phone and then directed the two SAR ground teams as they climbed the mountainside to reach her, Sugars said. The search and rescue teams then assisted the woman and her dog back down to her car at the Cold Springs Trailhead on East Mountain Drive. There were no injuries in the incident.

SAR Incident Cmdr. Jennifer Beyer credited the hiker’s own actions in her successful rescue. First, Beyer said, when she realized she was lost, she called 9-1-1 rather than pushing on and risking injury. She also remained calm and helped the rescue teams by describing where she was and using her cell phone as a light source for the helicopter to locate her.

“Copter 1 was instrumental with their night-vision equipment and high-intensity spotlight in being able to quickly locate the lost hiker and then directing our ground Search and Rescue teams safely to her,” Beyer said.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk.

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