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Calif. teen survives 250-foot fall off cliff

A search and rescue team hiked in to reach the teen in the Ventana Wilderness


CHP Coastal Division Air Operations/Facebook

By Amy Graff

BIG SUR, Calif. — A hiker was rescued on Jan. 4 after a 250-foot fall from a trail in California’s Ventana Wilderness near Big Sur, officials said.

The 19-year-old from Atascadero was on the Pine Ridge Trail near the Sykes Campground when he fell off a cliff, according to the California Highway Patrol’s Coastal Division Air Operations. He fell at about 4:30 p.m.

The teen’s hiking companion called 911 and a search-and-rescue team on foot reached him after sunset, CHP said. The hiker had major, non-life-threatening injuries and was unable to walk back to the road. Rescue workers called for assistance from an aircraft and a CHP helicopter arrived the next morning.

Video footage shared by the CHP showed the hiker being hoisted into the helicopter.

The hiker was flown to a nearby landing zone and then taken by air ambulance to Natividad Hospital in Salinas .

“These incidents are unusual, but they do happen,” CHP spokesperson Saul Lopez said of rescues on the Pine Ridge Trail.

The 23-mile-long Pine Ridge Trail traverses the Ventana Wilderness, connecting Big Sur Station and China Camp on Tassajara Road. It passes through challenging terrain, traveling up and down steep mountainsides.

“The hike up the Pine Ridge Trail into the Ventana Wilderness is strenuous and challenging even for experienced hikers,” according to the U.S. Forest Service.

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