On Saturday, October 7, 2006 at 9:30 PM, two Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, two LAFD Helicopters, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, as well as resources from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Park Rangers and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lost Hills Search and Rescue Team, all under the direction of LAFD Battalion Chief Dennis Waters responded to report of Lost Hikers near Topanga and Entrada in the Topanga State Park.
Two male hikers, age 19 and 20 became lost in the hills above Pacific Palisades. Due to the heavy brush and the darkness of night fall, they were unable to identify their exact location. The hikers were able to call 9-1-1 and alert emergency responders by using their cell phone.
Unfortunately, the charge on the cell phone battery was extremely low, and the hikers feared loosing contact with responding rescuers.
As Firefighters from local Fire Stations, Park Rangers and members from the LACo Sheriff Lost Hills Search and Rescue Team began a foot search of the area, LAFD helicopters began an aerial reconnaissance of the area attempting to locate the individuals.
As the LAFD Firefighter/Dispatcher was talking to the hiker on the cell phone, the hiker was able to help direct the helicopter into his general area. The hiker stated that the helicopter had flown over them twice already, and even though they were waving their shirts, they had not been spotted.
The Firefighter/Dispatcher, having experience and training in LAFD Air Operations, anticipated that the LAFD Helicopter would be using their "Night Vision Goggles" during this operation, which could easily locate a light source.
The Firefighter/Dispatcher was able to instruct the hiker to illuminate his cellphone screen and aim it directly towards the helicopter.
Within minutes, the airship was able to spot the cellphone, locate the lost hikers, illuminate the area using the night sun, and alert rescuers that the hikers had been located.
The uninjured hikers were removed from the remote area using a hoist operation from the helicopter and safely transported to a location where ground crews could assist them with reuniting with their families.
Fortunately, due to the experience of skilled LAFD Pilots, diligent ground crews, and well trained and seasoned Firefighter/Dispatchers, both hikers were rescued in just over one hour without injury.
Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department
Tags: LA, Los Angeles, LAFD, Los Angeles Fire Department