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7 hikers rescued from Santa Paula Canyon

Seven hikers were rescued from Santa Paula Canyon after dark Saturday.

September 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Seven hikers were rescued from Santa Paula Canyon after dark Saturday.

Two juvenile hikers called 911 to report they were lost in Santa Paula Canyon Saturday at about 8 p.m., according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

The two boys told deputies their two companions had hiked ahead of them. The boys reported that they were cold and lost as it was getting dark.

The Sheriff's Department launched the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team, who responded to the location.

Search team members found two hikers at the trailhead. Those hikers were not part of the original call; they were waiting for other hikers still in the canyon.

Search members hiked up the trail and located the two hikers who had been with the boys who had made the original call. They were escorted back to the trailhead.

Search members continued searching the area and located two more hikers, who were then escorted to the trailhead.

After searching for 45 minutes more, search team members located the boys who had made the call. The boys had climbed to a cliff to avoid wild animals.

A Sheriff's Dept. helicopter was called in and the two boys were hoisted to safety.

The helicopter searched the area further. Using night vision, the helicopter was able to locate another missing hiker who had suffered moderate injuries on the trail. He had used the light from his cellphone as a signaling device. That person was fitted with a harness and hoisted to safety.

In total four hikers were escorted out of the canyon and three were rescued by helicopter.

The Upper Ojai Search And Rescue Team is a volunteer group that performs without cost to taxpayers, according to the sheriff's department.

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