Missing Hiker Found Shoeless, Mouth Clogged With Dirt

Kyndall Jack 'wouldn't have made it much longer,' says rescuer
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2013 7:00 AM CDT
Updated Apr 5, 2013 10:00 AM CDT
Rescuers drive past an Orange County Sheriff's road block at Trabuco Creek Road on Thursday, April 4, 2013 in Trabuco, Canyon, Calif.   (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Ken Steinhardt)
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(Newser) – Rescuers followed Kyndall Jack's faint cries for an hour and a half yesterday before finally locating the 18-year-old hiker, who had been missing since Sunday in a Southern California national forest. She was holding on to a rocky outcropping about the size of a yoga mat, on an almost vertical slope, the AP reports. She first asked rescuers what year it was, then asked for her mom. Her shoes were missing, she was having trouble breathing, and though she was severely dehydrated, rescuers were afraid to give her water because her mouth was so full of dirt she might have choked. "She was just kind of clinging to the ledge on the cliff side, going in and out of consciousness," says the paramedic who airlifted her to safety. "She wouldn't have made it much longer."

Officials say Jack had no memory of going hiking with 19-year-old Nicolas Cendoya, who was found Wednesday, and many questions remain: How much water did they bring? Why did they go off the trail? How did they become separated Sunday night? They were both found, extremely disoriented, less than a mile from their car and were actually "very, very close" to each other, says a sheriff's spokesperson. The Cleveland National Forest is a "complicated" and "dangerous" place, says the spokesperson, and hikers can be lulled into a false sense of security because it is so close to a ritzy suburban area. During the rescue, a reserve deputy fell 60 feet down the canyon and suffered a head injury. He is in serious condition, but is expected to survive. (Read more Kyndall Jack stories.)

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