• Rescuers Find Missing Hiker

    ORANGE (CNS) – Rescuers today found a missing 18-year-old woman lost in Orange County’s Trabuco Canyon since Easter Sunday while her companion, who was found last night, was recuperating in a hospital.

    Kyndall Jack was hoisted aboard a helicopter just before noon and taken to UC Irvine in Orange. She got lost in the Trabuco Canyon area with 19-year- old Nicholas Cendoya.

    A reserve sheriff’s deputy who was helping rescue Jack suffered a “serious” head injury and was taken by helicopter to a hospital, Orange County sheriff’s Lt. Jason Park said.

    “He’s responsive,” Park said of the deputy, who was working on his day off.

    Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Jon Muir told reporters that he and Park informed Jack’s family.

    “They cried, they hugged us, thanked us immensely and it was worth it,” Muir said. “This is a good outcome. This is why we do what we do.”

    Cendoya was found Wednesday evening about a half-mile from where he and Jack parked their car, Orange County sheriff’s Lt. Jason Park said. Cendoya was “severely dehydrated and disoriented,” he said.

    Cendoya, found shoeless and in surf shorts, was in the trauma center at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, Park said. He was conscious and was being interviewed by authorities.

    Dr. Michael Ritter of Mission Hospital said Cendoya was in “very serious condition” when he was brought in last night, but, “Nick is doing better today. He’s awake and talking.”

    Cendoya was dehydrated and had cuts on him from bushwacking. Ritter said he told them he covered himself with brush in an attempt to say warm overnight.

    “Nick said the thing that kept him going was praying,” Ritter said. “He would pray every day and every night to give him the strength to get him out of there.”

    Physicians gave him fluids intravenously and will start feeding him soft foods and liquids, Ritter said.

    Cendoya ran the risk of “muscle breakdown,” which can lead to kidney failure, the longer he exerted himself without fluids, Ritter said. He should be healthy enough to be released from the hospital in a couple of days, Ritter said.

    Cendoya and Jack got separated Sunday evening, but Ritter did not know how or why, the doctor said.

    Rescuers, meanwhile, were rushing this morning to the site in the canyon where a hiker heard a woman’s voice calling for help, Park said. It wasn’t immediately clear if it was another hiker in distress or if it was Jack, Park said.

    “We’re responding to a report of a possible rescue. We don’t know a whole lot, but we’re sending a crew over there,” Park said, adding rescuers have gotten other similar calls that turned up nothing.

    “We’ve responded to every variety (of calls) at this point,” Park said.

    Park said the 60 some searchers today will continue scouring the area near where Cendoya was found as they look for Jack, who, like Cendoya, was described as athletic and in good health. He said helicopters will fly “as long as conditions permit” — a reference to the dense fog that has been shrouding the area.

    Rescue workers, some on horseback, searched for Cendoya and Jack during the day Wednesday, Park said. Many volunteers joined the search, including two who became lost and had to be tracked down and rescued.

    Fearing that novice rescuers could end up interfering with the search, officials have discouraged volunteers from joining in.

    “Let the rescuers do what they do,” Capt. Jon Muir of the Orange County Fire Authority told the Los Angeles Times. “This is what they are trained in… They know the hills. They know everything and they can move very quickly.”

    Cendoya and Jack, both Costa Mesa residents, called authorities about 8:25 p.m. Sunday to say they had gotten lost while hiking in Holy Jim Canyon in the Cleveland National Forest, said Gail Krause, an Orange County sheriff’s spokeswoman, adding that their cell phone’s battery then wore down.

    Authorities could not get an accurate GPS “ping” from the phone to pinpoint the hikers’ location, said Sheriff’s Lt. Erin Giudice.

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