SIERRA MADRE, Calif. - A local hiker helped save an injured man thanks in part to a location device he always carries.
Bruce Calkins carries the Delorme inReach SE with him every time he goes out for a hike. It came in handy Wednesday afternoon when the 82-year-old retired minister was hiking above Bailey Canyon Park in Sierra Madre. There, he spotted an injured hiker below the trail he was on.
"It has an S.O.S. button on it, so I pushed that and it sends a signal out, so it basically can be used anywhere internationally," Calkins said. "It goes to some place, I think, in Texas and they contact the local rescue people."
Less than four hours after the signal went out, the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team found them. The injured hiker suffered non-life threatening injuries.
"He really saved us from a very long night because it would have been several hours before someone realized that our victim hadn't come home, and then we wouldn't have even known where to start looking for him until we found his car at a local trail head, which happened to be several miles from where he fell," said John Dailey of the search-and-rescue team.
There are many of these personal location devices on the market. Are they useful? Search-and-rescue officials say they are; however, if you don't have one, Dailey says it's crucial not to hike alone and, more importantly, tell someone outside of your hiking group where you are going and what time you should be back.
While the pair waited for the rescue team to arrive, Calkins said, the two of them were just talking. Calkin told Eyewitness News he simply wanted to reassure the injured hiker that help was in fact on its way.
"There was one point where he said, 'What is that sound? Is that a snake, or insects?' 'No,' I said, 'That's a bird.'"
What finally calmed the injured hiker was when Calkins told him he wouldn't leave his side until rescuers arrived.