Couple helps rescue injured hiker who was stranded in SoCal wilderness for 2 weeks

Jaysha Patel Image
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Couple rescues hiker who was stranded in SoCal wilderness for 2 weeks
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A stranded hiker managed to survive on his own for two weeks in the Southern California wilderness until he was discovered by a couple on a camping trip nearby.

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (KABC) -- A stranded hiker managed to survive on his own for two weeks in the Southern California wilderness until he was discovered by a couple on a camping trip nearby.

Allison Scott said she and her boyfriend decided to go camping the day after Thanksgiving.

They decided to camp in a spot between Big Bear Lake and Angelus Oaks. But what started as a fun camping trip, quickly turned into a rescue mission.

"We were underneath a flight path and an airplane went by pretty low and we heard someone yelling for help," Scott said.

She said that person was a man named Eric.

"We end up finding him, and my boyfriend is looking over the ridge and calling out, 'Hey I see you,'" Scott said. "He had a stick with a water bottle on it trying to signal. He couldn't walk. His feet were extremely swollen and infected just from walking so much, and possibly the cold where he was."

The hiker told the couple he was from Oceanside, and he had been there for two weeks after he got lost. Eric told them he survived off half a jar of salsa.

"When we did find him, he said 'It's a Thanksgiving miracle,'" Scott recalled.

Scott contacted 911 and a helicopter came within 15 minutes.

The helicopter rescued Eric, but Scott said she tried tracking him down to make sure he was OK.

The good news is Eric seems to be doing better.

"He said he doesn't have a cellphone. We have his landline phone and he said, 'Whenever you're in Oceanside, I'll take you out to dinner. Just give me a call,'" Scott said.

"He also said, 'I'm very sorry for putting a damper on your camping trip,' and I said, 'I'm just glad you're OK,'" Scott said. "'I'm glad we found you.'"

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