Crews stage at Montaña de Oro in search for missing hiker
Update, 7:30 p.m.
Search and rescue crews looking for a lost hiker at Montaña de Oro State Park plan to shelter with him overnight before a helicopter rescue can be attempted Sunday morning, a State Parks official said.
The 27-year-old hiker became lost and “disoriented” near Allen Peak on the park’s easternmost edge during a Saturday morning hike, supervising ranger Dale Kinney told The Tribune.
A California Highway Patrol helicopter spotted the hiker about 5 p.m., but heavy cloud cover and a lack of daylight forced crews to abandon their initial plan to airlift him from the area, Kinney said.
Instead, about 5:45 p.m., three search and rescue crews from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office started a 3.5-hour hike to reach the man, who is lost in a canyon area covered with thick, chaparral-style brush, Kinney said.
The hiker is believed to be approximately 5 miles inland from where he started, near the Oats Peak Trail.
“The search team, they’re well-prepared,” Kinney said. “They will just have to be real careful. They’re just gonna be bushwacking and stuff. They’re going to have to pick their way through the vegetation.”
Kinney said the rescue workers will tend to the hiker’s medical needs before settling in for the night.
“He’s got cramps. He’s dehydrated,” Kinney said.
Kinney said the hiker also might have become disoriented during his trek because of a lack of sleep. Family members told authorities the man had worked an overnight shift before setting out on his hike in the morning, Kinney said.
At some point during his hike, the man called his family to report he was lost, and a family member then called 911 about 2:45 p.m., Kinney said.
The family met with search crews at Spooner’s Cove, where authorities gathered to begin planning their rescue attempts, Kinney said.
Search and rescue crews were trying to reach a stranded hiker at Montaña de Oro State Park on Saturday night, officials confirmed.
The hiker was spotted via helicopter about 5 p.m. near the base of Allen Peak along the park’s eastern edge, supervising ranger Dale Kinney told The Tribune.
The hiker had set out on the Oats Peak Trail around 8 a.m. but later called his family when he became “disoriented,” Kinney said. A family member called 911 about 2:45 p.m., and rescue crews met the family at Spooner’s Cove, Kinney said.
Initial reports indicated the hiker would be airlifted from the brush-covered area via a California Highway Patrol helicopter; but cloud cover and lack of daylight could force search and rescue crews to attempt to reach the hiker on foot or by using all-terrain vehicles, Kinney said.
“He’s in heavy vegetation,” Kinney said. “He’s short on water, so he’s dehydrated.”
State Parks, the CHP and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office have been working on the rescue attempt. About 15 to 20 personnel were working the scene, Kinney said.
Mark Powell: 805-781-7915