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Hikers ran out of water, drank shampoo

July 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two men lost overnight in the Altadena foothills were rescued on Monday afternoon. The men were reported missing on Sunday when they got lost during a hike with friends in Eaton Canyon.A group of five had set out for a hike Sunday afternoon near Eaton Canyon. The group then split up at the first waterfall at about 1:30 p.m. with a plan to meet up later for a picnic. When the two hikers, Jesus Acosta, 28, and Leonardo Madera, 27, didn't show up at the designated picnic spot, the others had hiked back and began searching the area.

Altadena Mountain Rescue had been contacted around 11 p.m. Sunday and put searchers on the trails overnight. Two helicopters and ground crews continued searching Monday morning around Eaton Canyon for the missing men.

"They probably missed the mark by a quarter of a mile or so. They took a different trail than their friends did and wound up heading around the area where they should have gone," said Deputy Gregory Gabriel from Altadena Search and Rescue.

Friends had been worried because Acosta suffers from cerebral palsy.

At about 1 p.m., the men were able to wave down a search helicopter using a rearview mirror from an old car as a reflector.

Nearly 24 hours the men had split off from three other hikers, they were airlifted from a cliff to a local hospital for examination. A spokesman for the hospital said the men are in good condition but had a rough night.

The men apparently ran out of water, so they drank shampoo and sucked on a magic marker.

"It's good to know he's alive and well," said fellow hiker Fernando Lodevico, who had gone up in a rescue chopper to help in the search. Lodevico rushed to the hospital to see his friend.

Hiker James Baber said he could understand how someone could have easily gotten in trouble on Sunday while hiking.

"It was pretty miserable. It was close to 100 degrees," he said.

Baber said his group took about six liters of water, but still ran out during the hike.

Rescuers said it's important for hikers to take enough food and water, and to let family and friends know where you're going so that rescue teams know where to search

As for the missing hikers, it was a successful search and rescue, but one with a bill that comes right out the county's bottom line.

"The County Board of Supervisors has said time and time again that the mountains in Los Angeles County are public domain, and there is no reimbursement involved. It is all absorbed by taxpayer dollars," Gabriel said.

The search involved 11 people on the ground overnight, another 10 on the ground this morning, plus two choppers and their crews.

Officials said if you are ever lost while hiking, don't wander around. Just stay put and wait for rescuers.

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