Two SLO County women rescued by helicopter after getting lost hiking near Pt. Sal

newsroom@thetribunenews.comOctober 12, 2012 

Two San Luis Obispo County women were rescued by a helicopter early Wednesday after getting lost while hiking back to their car from the beach near Pt. Sal in Santa Barbara County.

The unidentified women, who were from Arroyo Grande and Oceano, became disoriented Tuesday evening while trying to return to their car from the beach area south of Guadalupe, according to a news release from the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office.

Members of the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue team (SBCSAR), assisted by Vandenberg Air Force Base military police and the Guadalupe Fire Department, looked for the women at the beach at the end of Brown Road and the adjacent bluff areas, according to the news release.

The search took place in near total darkness, according to authorities, and an ATV, modified for search operations, a thermal infrared imaging unit and night vision optics were used.

Searches were able to track the women and their dog after finding footprints and other evidence, according to the news release. Ground crews worked through the night over difficult terrain trying to locate the pair.

Just before daybreak, a search helicopter was launched from the Santa Ynez airport to try to find the lost hikers from the sky. Shortly afterward, searchers in the helicopter spotted the two women huddled under a tree.

Air support members safely landed, boarded the women and flew them out of the area. Emergency personnel evaluated the duo, who were said to be in good condition despite spending the night outside.

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