Originally posted at 10:29 a.m. March 2, 2014.
Four hikers from Long Beach, who were stranded overnight in a remote area of Malibu Creek State Park, have been rescued, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker.
The quartet, ages 25 to 26, had been trapped on rocks between several rain-swollen bodies of water, Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Roland Sprewell said.
The call came in at 7 p.m. Saturday, but a helicopter dispatched to the scene initially was unable to reach the hikers.
They were finally able to connect with rescuers shortly after 3 a.m. and get airlifted to safety.
An urban search and rescue team of 35 people had been on the scene Saturday night and early this morning and described it as a "high-risk" endeavor.
"The water level had reached epic proportions and the speed at which the water was flying through the rock formations was tremendously dangerous," said David Katz, captain of the Malibu Search and Rescue Team.. "Rescuers realized that if anyone fell into the rushing water, they likely would not survive."
Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Mike Parker said the only lighting available to rescuers was via their helmet lights and flashlights. "The ground is slippery. Rescuers must hike in to get to the area where the hikers are likely located."
The rescue was also complicated as the hikers' cell phone batteries began to lose power and they had to resort to texting information on their whereabouts.
While rescuers could initially see the hikers' flashlight, after a few hours, the flashlight died and the rescuers were essentially blind to the hikers' exact location, Katz said.
“After several days of torrential rains, we were shocked that anyone would have gone out hiking, let alone in an area with water rushing in excess of 20 mph and rapids similar to those found on the Colorado River,” Katz said.
--City News Service