Tag Archives: Mt Baldy

SBCSD Aviation and SB County Fire Perform a High-Risk Hoist Rescue

8194202371_d542761185_bBy SBSD
On January 16th, the victim, and her brother were hiking down the Devil’s Backbone Trail near the Mount Baldy Summit at the 9200’ level. While hiking down, she lost her footing and slid down the snow covered ridge approximately 50 feet. The victim managed to use her ice ax to prevent her from falling further down the steep rocky ridge. The victim’s brother immediately called 911 and requested assistance.

Sheriff’s patrol helicopter 40King4 (Pilot Deputy Jon Roberg and Tactical Flight Officer Deputy Carlos Quezada) was dispatched to the location to attempt to locate the victim. Due to the circumstances and elevation, the crew of 40King4 requested the assistance of Air Rescue 307, which was staffed with Sheriff and Fire personnel, to also respond and conduct a hoist rescue. The victim’s brother provided vital information including their GPS location and clothing descriptions. The crew of 40King4 located the victim and her brother and relayed that information to Air Rescue 307. The victim was located on a steep snow packed ridge.

Sheriff’s Air Rescue 307 responded to that location and began assessing the situation. It was determined the victim was in a high-risk area, which would require a technical pick off hoist rescue. Pilot Corporal Mike Gilley hovered over the victim while battling high winds with gusts up to 45 mph. Crew Chief Deputy Ed Leon lowered Fire Captain Eric Spies down on the hoist to the victim 130 feet. Spies contacted the victim while remaining on the hook, and immediately disconnected her backpack, which fell hundreds of feet down the rocky slope. Spies placed the victim into a “Hasty Rescue Harness” and secured the victim to himself on the hook. Deputy Leon hoisted both Spies and the victim together up to and inside the aircraft. The victim was then flown to Cow Canyon Saddle and released to awaiting medical personnel.

Inland Empire: Mt Baldy Trails Close After Deaths

By Lyn Taylor

MT BALDY– Icy conditions made the U.S. Forest Service shut down popular Mt. Baldy hiking trails after about a dozen injured and stranded hikers had to be airlifted from the trail on Saturday alone, according to aMt. Baldy Fire Department Twitter post. Since Friday, about two dozen people have been flown out of the mountain area due to hiking incidents, officials said. Baldy Bowl, Bear Flats, Icehouse Canyon, the Three Ts, Chapman and Devil’s Backbone trails are closed, according to a Forest Service spokeswoman.

“At one point we had four different helicopters going up here on Saturday,” said Mt Baldy Fire Department Captain Gordon Green. “One came back at least twice.”

During an earlier rescue of five stranded hikers, the sheriff’s department was advised about a married couple, Dong Xing “Tony” Liu and Linda Duan, who were hiking near the Icehouse Canyon Saddle, and who had both slipped on ice. A sheriff’s helicopter was already in the area and started searching the canyon.

Two hikers who were also in the area heard the couple’s cries for help and made their way down the steep terrain to the pair. The good Samaritans kept Duan warm while waiting for the rescue helicopter. The victims were stuck on an icy slope under a fallen tree, and rescuers were able to conduct a night hoist rescue using night vision goggles. Ms. Duan was transported to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a broken arm.  Mr. Liu sustained fatal injuries as a result of the fall and was pronounced dead at 8:12 p.m.

Liu, 47, was the just the latest person to die on the trails. Only four days earlier, 23-year-old Daniel Nguyen, a Cal State Long Beach graduate, fell to his death while trying to help a friend who had slipped on the Devil’s Backbone Trail.

The trail conditions must be evaluated before they can be reopened, according to MBFD officials.

“Anyone planning a trip up here should check with the U.S. Forest Service first,” Green advised. “Find out about the conditions and if the trails have been opened and always be prepared.”