Heavy cloud cover impedes search for missing hikers – January 19, 2018

On Friday, January 19th, just after 5:00PM, The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was activated to search for two hikers lost in the area of Fern Canyon and Brown Mountain, in the Angeles National Forest. AMRT rescue units had text communication with the hikers, who were able to convey that they were not on a marked trail. The missing persons were able to send their location to the rescue team, and with the provided information it was determined they were approximately 1/4th of a mile southwest of Brown Mountain.

Just before 9:00PM, the hikers could be heard yelling, but due to the thick clouds that had moved in that evening, they could not be seen. Team members reported visibility as low as 10 feet due to the dense cloud cover.

For a brief period, the clouds began to break, and a call was made to request a Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter to aid in locating the hikers. Shortly after the request for air support, the cloud cover returned, limiting the abilities of the helicopter.

The decision was made to hike across the mountain, in the direction of the voices. It was at this point that AMRT was able to visually locate the hikers on the side of the mountain. The victims were medically assessed, and with the cloud cover preventing helicopter assistance, the hikers were escorted off the mountain back to their vehicle, concluding the operation at approximately 1:30AM.

The two victims, a 25-year-old male resident of Los Angeles and a 25-year-old male resident of New Orleans had become lost in the darkness and thick cloud cover. The wise decision was made to call for help, avoiding the risk of injury or death. The mountains can be dangerous, especially when visibility is restricted.

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