A hiker who went missing in the Angeles National Forest was found alive after the first successful rescue mission by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department using a drone.
Aleksander Novak Zemplinski, of Michigan, had last been heard from earlier this week. On Thursday, the department announced he had been found.
"This individual probably would not survive another night in that situation," said Deputy Steve Goldsworthy. "No food, no water, in the full sun, already dehydrated, already injured."
Deputy Ryan Clarke with the department's Special Enforcement unit described the moment his unmanned aircraft system (UAS) spotted the missing hiker in the Mount Wilson area.
"I couldn't tell if it was just fallen dirt or a broken trail, but he was in the shrubs about 200 or 300 feet down that cliff," he said.
Goldsworthy said he was very disoriented.
"I was the first to get to him. My concern was he started to make movements like he wanted to move further down... I got down the hill as quick as I could and sat with him and talked with him.
Zemplinski was hoisted to safety and taken to the hospital. An update on his condition wasn't available, but it seems he is expected to be OK.
The department says it is grateful for the successful mission and that the drone made it possible to scan the rough terrain in a fraction of the time.
"Where the search and rescue to walk on foot could take days, I could cover that with a UAS in a matter of minutes," Clarke said.