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HesperiaStar.com
  • Reported hiker fall spurs two searches

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  • HESPERIA — San Bernardino County Fire officials were called twice on Sunday to rescue a hiker who reported that he and his dog had fallen approximately 70 feet while walking Pacific Crest Trail about 2.5 miles southeast of the Deep Creek spillway.
    However, the incident turned out to be far less serious than expected, fire officials said.
    A man in roughly his 40s reported the fall at 2:39 p.m., according to County Fire spokesman Mark Murphy.
    County Fire and San Bernardino County sheriff’s airships scoured the area for the man, his two dogs and two adults in his party. A County Fire rescue crew had hiked the long, narrow path about two-thirds of the way to where the party was believed to be when the search was called off because sheriff’s officials had made contact.
    “Sheriff’s flew in and lowered one of their medics to help, but they refused treatment,” Murphy said.
    The man who was reportedly injured asked officials to hoist his dog, but the request was refused.
    “(The man) did not fall; his dog took a tumble and the dog’s only injury turned out to be an injury to one of its pads and one of its claws,” he said.
    It’s unclear if the purported fall occurred from a cliff or an embankment, according to Murphy.
    After the incident was cleared and the fire crew had hiked back, officials received a second call from the party at about 5 p.m.
    “He is now injured and wants to be transported out,” Murphy said.
    On the second go-around, responding fire officials — assisted this time by a California Highway Patrol helicopter — opted to set up a command post and not to enter the trail.
    “We stayed put this time because we did not have a good location where he was (now),” Murphy said.
    Murphy also said fire officials were unsuccessful in multiple attempts to reach the man by cellphone. While the crew deliberated how to best find the party, the party suddenly walked out of the trail and into view.
    “(The man) was aloof to us with regards to information, but we gathered the dog did fall,” Murphy said.
    The fire crew offered to transport the party across the dam, which they did for a short while before the group asked to stop and left on their own accord, Murphy said.
    Murphy said he didn’t discount the man’s version of events, but speaking from personal experience, “a person or animal who fell 70 feet ... would have more significant injuries than were presented to us in this case.”
    “We offered help and sent a lot of resources there to help them out,” he said. “We got a good hike out of it.”
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