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Community shows outpouring of support

Cheers erupt around Costa Mesa as word spreads that both missing hikers have been found safe.

April 04, 2013|By Lauren Williams

The Costa Mesa community breathed a big sigh of relief Thursday afternoon.

Angela Jackson-Brunning was glued to a police scanner and Facebook all morning, awaiting word on whether 18-year-old Kyndall Jack had been found.

Jackson-Brunning, a friend of Jack's mother, Dawn, had stayed home because volunteer rescuers were asked to stay away from Holy Jim Canyon, the area in Trabuco Canyon where Jack and Nicolas Cendoya, 19, went missing Sunday.

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By Thursday, the search had gotten "technical enough" to require only trained people, according to Orange County Fire Authority division Chief Michael Boyle. To be effective, search dogs needed the area to be relatively uncontaminated.

Just before noon, rescuers pulled Kyndall Jack from Trabuco Canyon and took her to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange.

Julian Jackson-Brunning, a freshman at Costa Mesa High School who grew up with Kyndall's sister Haylee, told his mom he heard the news over the school's loudspeaker. His whole class was excited, Angela said.

He had been upset that he couldn't help with the search Thursday and had to return to school, she said.

"We're just absolutely elated," Angela said. "There's just an outpouring. I think everybody's been glued to Facebook. There's just thousands of messages."

Friends, family and residents had coordinated rides and shared information about the search on a Facebook page called Costa Mesa Search Party that had been set up to help find Jack and Cendoya.

Jackson-Brunning's other son, a fourth-grader, heard that Jack was rescued over the loudspeaker at Sonora Elementary School.

"We have great news," Principal Christine Anderson announced over the school's public address system. "Kyndall Jack was found and was being brought to the hospital."

Kori Johnson, Mesa's cheer coach and a Sonora health assistant, said Sonora secretary Cheryl Wright and the school community coordinator gathered around Anderson's office to watch TV coverage of the search effort and ultimate rescue.

Cheers and clapping could be heard coming from Anderson's office.

Perhaps school personnel have taken an extra special interest in the case because Dawn Jack works at Corona del Mar High School.

Johnson's family had joined the search Tuesday and Wednesday. Her husband spent 14 hours out there Tuesday. "[We were] just doing what we could," Johnson said.

Wright would leave the canyon only long enough to head home for a shower and a bit of sleep, Johnson said. She worked 20-hour days in the search.

"Half of Costa Mesa was there," Johnson said.

She saw an outpouring from people who didn't even know Jack or Cendoya.

"I think the whole community came together because it hit so close to home."

— Reporter Jill Cowan contributed to this story.

lauren.williams@latimes.com

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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