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Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001


Search & Rescue

Hiker lost overnight rescued by sheriff’s helicopter & S&R

January 10, 2018

FOREST FALLS, Calif – On Saturday, January 6 at about 6:00 a.m., Bethany Sloan (age 32 of Redlands) and a friend went on a day hike up Vivian Creek Trail and attempted to reach the San Gorgonio Summit. Sometime during the hike, Sloan’s friend became tired and turned back. Sloan continued to hike and reached the summit around 1:00 p.m. However, on reaching the summit and preparing to descend, a weather system set in causing her to become disorientated. Sloan continued her descent and lost her way on the trail.

At about 3:00 p.m., Sloan realized she was lost and activated her personal alert system (PAS). The PAS notified family members she was lost and needed assistance. Sloan’s family notified law enforcement and a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to the area. There he assessed the situation and immediately requested Yucaipa Search and Rescue personnel as well as San Bernardino County Sheriff Sheriff’s Aviation.

The deputy coordinated the search for Sloan using SAR personnel and Sheriff’s Aviation. SAR personnel searched the main trails and Sheriff’s helicopter 40K6, searched the area with Forward Looking Infrared (Flir) and Night Vision Goggles. During the aerial search the weather system worsened and prevented the helicopter from continuing the search. SAR members hiked throughout the night and into the morning without success.

On Sunday, January 7, at about 4:00 a.m., the deputy requested Sheriff’s Aviation respond back to the area and begin a search at first light. Sheriff’s helicopter 40K5, responded to the area and continued the search of numerous mountain trails. At approximately 8:00 a.m., another Sheriff’s helicopter was requested to respond to the location and insert SAR members to various locations. SAR members had a general location and requested the original helicopter to search near the top of the waterfall where they found Sloan at the top of the waterfall.

Sheriff’s helicopter AR306 responded to the top of the waterfalls to retrieve Sloan. With the helicopter positioned approximately 70’ above, a member of the crew was lowered to Sloan who was on a small ledge overlooking the falls. Sloan was placed in a rescue harness and hoisted back into the helicopter where she was flown to the logging platform where she was released. She was not injured during the hike or rescue.

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