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Local News

Pair of Hikers Rescued Below Montecito Peak

Errant turn on Cold Springs Trail ends with recovery operation by sheriff's Search and Rescue Team, helicopter

Two hikers were rescued near Montecito Peak on Saturday by volunteers with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team and aerial support from a sheriff’s helicopter.

Sheriff’s Department spokesman Drew Sugars said the two women got lost while hiking the Cold Springs Trail above Montecito on Saturday morning. He said the pair missed a turn about 1½ miles up from the Mountain Drive trailhead and began climbing up a steep ravine until they reached the bottom of a cliff. Unable to proceed, they tried to climb back down but realized the descent was too steep.

The hikers used a cell phone to call 9-1-1 around 12:20 p.m. Sugars said sheriff’s dispatchers used GPS coordinates from the cell phone to determine the hikers’ general location and then called the Search and Rescue Team.

Responding were 11 Search and Rescue Team members along with the helicopter. Soon after arriving in the area, the helicopter located the hikers on the side of a cliff then airlifted three mountain rescue personnel to a drop site above the stranded pair, Sugars said. The Search and Rescue crew next cut a rough quarter-mile trail through dense brush to a position about 80 feet above the hikers.

From there, Sugars said the rescue crew used ropes and technical rock rescue gear to reach the women, who were accompanied down to the trailhead by additional rescue personnel hiking up from below.

There were no injuries in the nearly four-hour ordeal. The identities of the women, who were in their mid-20s, were not released.

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

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