Search and Rescue & Sheriff’s Copter Delivers Backpackers to Safety

Santa Barbara-- On Monday, March 21, 2011 at approximately 11:30 am, Santa Barbara County Emergency Dispatch received a call reporting that two hikers and three dogs had not returned Sunday as expected from a weekend backpacking trip that began in the Nira area.

A family member said that a 27-year old woman and a 36-year old male from the San Diego, along with their dogs, had planned on hiking the Sisquoc River loop. The caller said they were experienced hikers and had been to the area before, but had not been heard from since the trip began.

Two Santa Barbara Search and Rescue teams were sent to the Nira campground where they confirmed that the subject’s vehicle was still there. A Sheriff’s helicopter was sent out to follow the Sisquoc River Loop to see if they could locate the missing duo from the air. After failing to find the man and woman on the planned route, the helicopter expanded its search of the back country where the missing subjects were eventually located at the South Fork campground.

The subjects indicated that they had been stopped by the heavy rains and could not get back to their vehicle because they could not cross the river with the dogs. Due to the continuing rain predicted for the rest of the week, both subjects and the three dogs were transported by Sheriff’s helicopter to Cachuma Saddle where they met up with the Search and Rescue Teams. The subjects and the three dogs were then transported by SAR to their vehicle at the Nira campground. There were no injuries to the subjects or the dogs. The entire operation took less than two hours to complete.

Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue is an all volunteer organization under the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. For further information on how to become involved with Search and Rescue as a volunteer contact Nelson Trichler, SAR PIO, at 805-698-0752.

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