Searchers get lost while looking for missing teens

The pair of lost rescuers were found during Wednesday's search, which grew as a Newport businessman offers use of private helicopter.

April 03, 2013|By Lauren Williams
  • An Orange County Fire Authority helicopter combs the surrounding area where two hikers were reported missing in Trabuco Canyon on Tuesday.
An Orange County Fire Authority helicopter combs the… (KEVIN CHANG )

The search for two Costa Mesa teens who went missing while hiking in Trabuco Canyon stretched into a third day Wednesday, as dozens of civilian volunteers continued to scour the area — a pair of whom got lost themselves.

Two searchers out looking for Kyndall Jack, 18, and Nicholas Cendoya, 19, were airlifted out of the canyon, said Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jason Park.

The pair called 911 sometime between 3 and 4 p.m., he said, and dispatchers were able to pass on their coordinates to a helicopter.

"They weren't injured," Park added. "Just lost." He said he didn't have any information on the searchers' identities or ages.

Law enforcement officials can't condone rescue efforts by friends and families, but they have advised volunteers to come prepared with water, a compass and adequate supplies if they do plan to hike what can be tough terrain.

As of about 6 p.m. Wednesday evening, Park said helicopters would be in the air all night searching, and that OCSD Search and Rescue teams would be out "at first light."


Former police helicopter pilots also joined in the hunt Wednesday.

Costa Mesa Police Officer Rob Dimel received a text message from Newport Beach businessman Peter Adderton offering the use of one of his private helicopters to look for the Jack and Cendoya.

Jack and Cendoya called authorities for help Sunday night saying they were disoriented, but lost the connection with 911 after their cell phone battery died.

Dimel, who was a pilot in Airborne Law Enforcement, or ABLE, a police helicopter program that was jointly run by Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, participated in the search. He was joined by Officers Ryan Walker, another former ABLE pilot, and Dana Potts, who is trained as a flight officer and observer, and volunteers with the Riverside Mountain Rescue unit, Dimel said.

"They're both Costa Mesa residents … It hits home," Walker said. "My skill set is flying and luckily my boss is very generous and said, 'Hey, help out.'"

Two Los Angeles Sheriff's Department helicopters searched with Costa Mesa police and their private chopper. As of 5 p.m. the Costa Mesa officers were refueling and heading back to continue the search along with Orange County Sheriff's Department, which will continue into the night, Dimel said.

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