Mount Baldy, CA, January 27, 2017 – On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, 4 people had to be rescued by hoist via helicopter in two separate incidents in the Mount Baldy area.
On Wednesday, January 25, Sally Morley, 61years old of Temecula and Ellen Coleman, 63 years old of Riverside were hiking down a snow-packed ridgeline into San Antonio Canyon at the 8500’ level. Despite having appropriate snow hiking gear, they realized the terrain was too steep and the snow was turning to ice. They were unable to climb out from their location and were in need of assistance. The victims used their GPS devices and activated the emergency distress signals. A Sheriff’s patrol helicopter was dispatched to the location and immediately located the victims at the end of a steep ridge. Due to the circumstances and elevation, Air Rescue 307, which was staffed with Sheriff and Fire personnel, was dispatched to conduct a hoist rescue. The pilot hovered while a firefighter was lowered 100 feet down to the victims. They were both placed into rescue harnesses and hoisted individually into the aircraft. The victims were flown to Cow Canyon Saddle and were released to personnel on scene.
On Thursday, January 26, Cody Ayala, a 27 year old resident of Long Beach and Chris Chung, a 32 year old from Irvine were hiking up the Mount Baldy Bowl Trail. As they reached the top of the bowl, an avalanche occurred causing them to slide down the side of the bowl over 1000 feet. As the avalanche subsided, the victims came to rest in the snow at the 9000-foot level. Both victims suffered moderate injuries as a result of the fall. A witness called 911 and reported the incident. The victims also activated their personal SPOT device. Sheriff’s patrol helicopter 40King2 was dispatched to the location and immediately located the victims in the center of the Baldy Bowl. Due to the circumstances and reports of injury, Air Rescue 307, staffed with Sheriff and Fire personnel were dispatched to the area to conduct a hoist rescue. Two firefighters were lowered approximately 85 feet on the hoist. They then hiked up the steep snow-packed terrain to the victims. Both victims were medically assessed before being placed into rescue harnesses. Both victims were hoisted into the aircraft and flown to Cow Canyon Saddle, where they were released to awaiting medical personnel.