Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – Rescuers struggled in bad weather and darkness before saving four hikers trapped on a rock in Malibu Creek State Park on Sunday.
State park rangers cited the unharmed hikers for endangering themselves after they were airlifted to a safe spot by a rescue helicopter from the Ventura County sheriff’s office around 3:15 a.m.
The hikers–Savun Chhath, 25; Jonathan Lucero, 26; Janette Recinos, 25; and Billy Chum, 25–called 9-1-1 through a mobile phone at 6:45 p.m. Saturday to report that they were trapped on a rock surrounded by rising water.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Malibu Search and Rescue, L.A. County Fire Department Lifeguards Swift Water Rescue, the state park and Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station responded immediately but severe weather and low visibility held off the land and air rescue for eight hours.
Mike Parker, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said the hikers were in a remote part of the Rock Pool and the lack of lighting, slippery surfaces, rock walls and rampaging waters made rescue risky. Rescuers crossed a creek by raft and hiked closer to the trapped hikers but were turned back by the dangerous rapids.
The rescuers were 200 yards away from the hikers when the rescue helicopter spotted the latter and airlifted them one by one to a waiting ambulance.