A church group of at least 15 hikers who didn't return from a weekend hike in a nature preserve in Southern California's San Gabriel Mountains were found by rescue crews today. The adults and teens set out in the Eaton Canyon Natural Area yesterday morning and were expected back by the evening. A member of the group called the Los Angeles County sheriff's station in Altadena at 9:40pm saying they were lost, Deputy Dan Paige said. NBC LA reports that authorities believe a helicopter spotted the group this morning, and a head count was being done; CBS adds that a medic was lowered to the group and no injuries were reported.
Crews searched through the night and were joined by reinforcements at daybreak. A helicopter crew joined the search after early morning low clouds and fog began to break up. Members of the Seventh Day Adventist church in Huntington Park said the hikers range from 14 to 36 years old and have gone out as a group on 3-mile treks before. They had planned to go rappelling at canyon waterfalls. "We're assuming that they got tired and they stopped," Wendolyn Ortiz told KABC-TV. (Read more San Gabriel Mountains stories.)