Three remote-area rescues on same day, all reported within hours, strain resources

Three different remote-area rescues that were all reported in just over a four-hour period strained fire and law enforcement resources, Saturday, Aug. 26. The three different and unrelated rescues took place in Lake Elsinore, San Jacinto and Mountain Center.

One of the incidents resulted in one victim with major injuries and the other two both resulted in minor injuries. Two of the three victims were transported to area hospitals for treatment of their injuries.

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The first incident happened near the 34000 block of Highway 74 in Lake Elsinore.

Eighteen firefighters from four engine companies responded to the first rescue, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Public Information Officer Tawny Cabral explained in an incident report. They were assisted by Cal Fire’s Copter 301, out of Hemet-Ryan’s Helitack base.

Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighters, Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, U.S. Forest Service rangers and other emergency first responders were dispatched to the emergency at 4:12 p.m.

They responded to the area after Riverside County emergency dispatchers were notified about a hiker experiencing an unspecified medical emergency while on a remote trail in an unincorporated area off Highway 74, near the corner of Riverside Drive and Grand Avenue.

Copter 301 prepares to land during one of three rescue operations, Saturday, Aug 26. Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photo

“Due to the remote location of the victim, Cal Fire’s Copter 301 responded to perform a hoist operation,” said Cabral. The aviation crew successfully extracted the victim during a technical hoist operation and transported the victim to an area hospital.

The victim was listed in serious condition, according to Cabral.

The second remote area was reported at 7:46 p.m., inside historic Massacre Canyon, in the area of Gilman Springs Road and Sanderson Avenue, in San Jacinto.

Fire, sheriff and CHP officials were dispatched to the canyon regarding reports of a female hiker who had become injured and was unable to hike back out of the canyon on her own.

Fifteen firefighters from four engine companies responded to the second rescue, Cabral explained in an incident report. They were assisted by a Paramedic Squad.

Firefighters, paramedics and others hiked in to where the victim was stranded and hiked her out to a waiting ambulance. Her injuries, which officials did not specify, were described as minor.

Once back out of the canyon, American Medical Response medics transported the victim by ground ambulance to an area hospital for further evaluation and treatment.

The third rescue was reported just one hour later at 8:46 p.m., in the area of Deer Springs and Suicide Rock Trails in Mountain Center.

Fire, police and other rescue personnel responded to the area after receiving reports of an injured hiker in the area.

“Firefighters hiked the victim out to an awaiting ambulance,” where the person evaluated by paramedics, said Cabral. The hiker declined further medical treatment for injuries that were described as minor.

Law enforcement and fire officials remind all visitors and hikers to wear appropriate clothing for the conditions, carry a reasonable amount of water, have a fully charged cell phone, stay on trails and allow enough time to return to trail heads well before closing time.

Additionally, hikers should carry common hiking equipment, such as GPS, maps and compasses and tell a friend or family member details of the hike, including the name and location of the trail and estimated return time.


Contact the writer:

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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 13 – soon to be 14 – grandchildren.