Rock climber airlifted after accident at Ortega Falls

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. — Reports of a rock climber who was seriously injured after falling while hiking at Ortega Falls near Lake Elsinore led to a dramatic rescue when the victim had to be hoisted out of the steep and inaccessible canyon by a Sheriff’s rescue chopper Sunday April 25.


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Cal Fire-Riverside, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the falls, located off Highway 74, in El Cariso, around 3:14 p.m. after receiving reports of a woman who was injured after falling while rock climbing and tumbling down a steep and rocky ravine.

A rock climber who was injured while visiting Ortega Falls in El Cariso near Lake Elsinore last Sunday was airlifted from the scene by a Sheriff’s rescue chopper. Riverside County News (RivCo News) photos

Firefighters and other emergency first responders hiked into the area of the victim’s location, where they determined her injuries warranted being airlifted from where she had landed after her fall.

At that time a Riverside County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit rescue helicopter was summoned to the scene to perform a technical hoist rescue operation.

The victim was eventually lifted from the area in a basket slung low beneath the hovering chopper before being brought into the helicopter, where she was then transported to an air ambulance waiting nearby.

Once transferred from the Sheriff’s helicopter to the air ambulance she was flown to an area hospital for treatment of her injuries, which were later described as moderate.


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Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

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, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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