The Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue team located four campers Thursday who had been trapped since Sunday in an unexpected Sierra Nevada Mountain snowstorm.
The campers, who were without food for four days, were found in good condition after being reported missing on Sunday, Oct. 17. Santa Barbara authorities responded after the Fresno Sheriff’s Dept. requested aid from search and rescue teams throughout the state.
According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept., the rescue crew spotted the missing campers from a helicopter during a window of clear weather that only lasted about three hours.
Due to the limited landing area, the helicopter could only get within a quarter mile of the campers. Members of the rescue team hiked through snow three to five feet deep to reach the campers, who had been wet and without food for four days. The campers were given medical evaluations, food, water and dry clothes, and were then transported by helicopter to the search and rescue command post at Courtright Reservoir.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. spokesman Sgt. Chris Pappas said that despite the dangerous conditions for the helicopter landing, the search and rescue team was just doing its job.
“We’re just very happy we found those people,” Pappas said. “It wouldn’t have been good for them to be out there another night and day.”
The search and rescue team included team leader Jennifer Beyer, Rick Stein, Jenna Endres, James Merrick and Mike LaMonaco.