UPDATE: Rescuers find missing Pozo-area hiker after searching all day


A person who was swept away in rapid water after running and hiking on the Big Falls/Little Falls trail near the Rinconada trailhead in the Pozo area on Sunday had tried to rescue a dog after it was swept away by water, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department.

The person, who had been in a group with four other people, reportedly entered the water at 9:30 a.m. to rescue a chocolate lab named Otto, according to the news release.

The person was able to get out of the water, and was treated by Cal Fire for hypothermia, cuts and bruises. The other runners/hikers said a person from their group had gone to get help, but had not returned. The group had been 4 to 5 miles up the trail when the dog went into the water.

At 1:45 p.m., the Sheriff's Department's search and rescue team was called out to help find that fifth person, a 20-year-old man from Santa Maria.

After an extensive search, the man was found at the Hi-Mountain Lookout Station at 7:26 p.m. He was mildly hypothermic, but was not transported for medical treatment.

Otto the dog has not been found. Anyone with information on the dog is asked to call the sheriff's watch commander at 781-4553.

Original story:

Rescuers have found for a hiker who went to get help after a fellow hiker was swept into a creek while hiking in eastern San Luis Obispo County on Sunday morning.

The hiker had hypothermia and medics were being summoned to the Rinconada trailhead in the Pozo area east of Santa Margarita, according to radio dispatches from the scene about 6:20 p.m. Sunday.

Just after 9:30 a.m., Cal Fire rescuers found that the hiker who had initially reported in distress had made it out of the water. The hiker declined a trip to the hospital, though the hiker suffered from hypothermia and had cuts and bruises, according to Cal Fire.

Another hiker, found at the creek bank with the one that fell into the water, told rescuers that a third hiker had left to get help but hadn’t been found.

The Sheriffs Department Search and Rescue Team, Technical Rescue Team members from the Morro Bay and Paso Robles fire departments and County/Cal Fire had been looking for the third hiker through the afternoon and into the early evening.