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Search & Rescue

Helicopter Rescues Two Avalanche Victims from Mount Baldy Bowl

January 28, 2017

MOUNT BALDY, Calif – On Thursday, January 26 about 1:00 p.m., the victims, Cody Ayala (age 27 of Long Beach) and Chris Chung (age 32 of Irvine) were hiking up the Mount Baldy Bowl Trail. As they reached the top of the bowl, an avalanche occurred causing them to slide down the side of the bowl over 1000 feet.

As the avalanche subsided, the victims came to rest in the snow at the 9000‑foot level. Both victims suffered moderate injuries as a result of the fall. A witness called 911 and reported the incident. The victims also activated their personal SPOT device.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s patrol helicopter 40King2 (Pilot Deputy Jon Roberg and Tactical Flight Officer Deputy Chris Mejia) were dispatched to the location in an attempt to locate the victims. They immediately located the victims in the center of the Baldy Bowl. Due to the circumstances and reports of injury, Air Rescue 307, staffed with Sheriff and Fire personnel were dispatched to assist in rescue efforts.

Air Rescue 307 helicopter responded to the location to conduct a hoist rescue. Pilot Corporal Jon Anderson hovered over the location, while Crew Chief Deputy Ed Leon lowered Firefighter Spencer Brumbaugh and Fire Captain Mark Murphy down approximately 85 feet on the hoist. Brumbaugh and Murphy hiked up the steep snow-packed terrain to the victims. Both victims were medically assessed before being placed into rescue harnesses. Deputy Leon hoisted Ayala into the aircraft, followed by Brumbaugh.

They were flown to and dropped off at Cow Canyon Saddle. Leon then hoisted Chung into the aircraft, followed by Fire Captain Murphy. They were flown to Cow Canyon Saddle, and both victims were released to awaiting medical personnel.

To view video of rescue, click HERE.

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