Hikers previously gone missing in California have been found safe yet incredibly dehydrated after four days in the Cleveland National Forest. Rescuers have described the rescue of 18-year-old Kyndall Jack, who was found clinging to the side of a mountain.
"She was just kind of clinging to the ledge on the cliff side, going in and out of consciousness," Deputy Jim Moss told the Associated Press. He was lowered by helicopter to where Jack was and, after strapping her in, was airlifted out of the canyon.
"She was limp and almost lifeless. I was just holding her as the crew chief brought us up and just holding onto her, bringing her in. She wouldn't have made it much longer. She's really lucky. She was filthy from head to toe, her lips were black with dirt, her eyes were barely open and she had on no shoes," Moss said.
It was an incredible relief for Jack's family given that her partner, Nicholas Cendoya, was found nearly 24 hours before she was. The two had apparently split up once Jack had injured her ankle.
"He believed they had been separated possibly since Sunday night and has no recall how they got separated," searcher Michael Boyle told reporters.
Both teens are being treated for dehydration and other injuries but are expected to make full recoveries.
"Nick wanted me to convey to all of you … how grateful he is for all the help," Dr. Mike Ritter told the press. "He's got a lot of faith in the Lord, which I think will help him to work his way through this."
The teens dialed 911 to report that they were lost in the Forest and had no water, setting off a frantic search by officials. Both of their cell phones died, which made it nearly impossible to track them via GPS or other devices, but rescuers and volunteers were determined to find the pair.