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Missing hikers rescued from flooded OC canyon

December 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Four hikers who went missing in a flooded Orange County canyon are back home with their families. They hadn't been seen since Monday, but rescuers found them and air-lifted them to safety Tuesday morning.

The hikers suffered minor hypothermia, but they were not transported to a local hospital.

"It was a sleepless night, and I'm just glad that everybody's here to help them, and I'm glad they're OK," said Joan Sturgeon, mother to one of the rescued hikers.

The young men spent a cold and rainy night trapped in Trabuco Canyon after hiking in to see a waterfall.

"When they crossed the river, there was very little water in it, and when they came back, it was full," said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg McKeown. McKeown said the hikers knew they wouldn't make it across and prepared for the worst.

One of the hikers texted a family member to say that they were stranded. But the raging water shut down Trabuco Canyon Road and made rescuing the men a challenge.

The four former high school classmates didn't comment on their ordeal, but rescuers said they had tried to take shelter under some trees.

It's been a busy 24 hours for rescuers in Trabuco Canyon. In the span of 12 hours, the Orange County Fire Authority has made a dozen rescues.

Rescuers had to use a bulldozer to cross the rain-swollen creek on Monday night to rescue five men who were also stranded by the fast-moving water. All of them were in vehicles stranded on the other side of the creek.

Another group of teens staying at a cabin were airlifted out on Tuesday morning, afraid they could end up trapped in the canyon.

Officials are urging people to stay out of the canyon and away from the fast-moving creeks given the dangerous conditions.


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