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'Miracles Happen, and This Is a Miracle'

Missing California hikers found safe after 5 days
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 11, 2019 1:13 AM CDT
This combination of photos provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department shows Eric Desplinter, left, of Chino Hills, Calif., and Gabrielle Wallace of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.   (San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department via AP, File)

(Newser) – Two hikers who vanished in snowy Southern California mountains were found safe on Wednesday by rescuers who spent days searching the rugged heights. Gabrielle Wallace, 31, of Rancho Cucamonga and Eric Desplinter, 33, of Chino Hills went missing Saturday in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles, the AP reports. A search team found two sets of footprints in Cucamonga Canyon, south of Mount Baldy, and followed them. A helicopter sent to the area spotted two people near a campfire, according to a statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. The hikers were to be flown to the Mount Baldy fire station to be reunited with their families and paramedics would determine whether they need further treatment, the statement said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which helped with the search, described the pair as being "safely" located but there were no immediate details about their conditions. "Miracles happen, and this is a miracle," Mike Leum with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a tweet. The hikers vanished while heading toward the 8,860-foot Cucamonga Peak near Mount Baldy. Desplinter was described as an experienced hiker and the two were carrying proper equipment for the icy conditions. Search-and-rescue teams from six counties volunteered to help comb some 30 square miles of the mountains, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. (Read more hikers stories.)

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