Ventura County Sheriff – Incident Press Release
On 11/4/2020, at about 5:03 PM, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a hiker stating he and four other family members had been hiking near Reyes Peak and were now lost. The group began hiking near the Reyes Peak trailhead, lost the trail at some point, and hiked downhill a significant way before realizing they were not going to be able to find their way out on their own. The hikers GPS coordinates were obtained from the 911 call. The GPS coordinates indicated the hikers were in a remote area of the Los Padres National Forest in the Sespe Wilderness northeast of Reyes Peak. A deputy sheriff assigned to the Lockwood Valley Station responded to the area and requested the assistance of the Ojai Search and Rescue Team. The Ojai Search and Rescue Team is comprised of a group of highly trained and dedicated volunteers who answered the call to assist with locating the lost hikers.
At about 7:20 PM, the lost hikers were located down a very steep drainage about one half of a mile from the Reyes Peak Trail and about 600 vertical feet below the trail. The hikers did not have enough water or food to hike back to the trailhead. The hikers were very fatigued and were unable to hike up the steep slope without assistance. The deputy and members from the Ojai Search and Rescue Team assisted the hikers up the steep slope and escorted them safely back to the trailhead by about 10:10 PM. Several of the hikers were evaluated by medical personnel at the trailhead without needing transport to advanced medical care.
This group of hikers was very fortunate to have been able to utilize a cellphone to call 911. Had the group not been able to request emergency assistance they would have been susceptible to malnourishment, hypothermia, and other risks due to the rugged terrain and environment. When preparing for outdoor adventures, it is imperative that you at least bring enough food and water, proper clothing and footwear, and have a map of the area or a functioning GPS device. Personal locator beacons and other SOS capable devices are also recommended.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office cannot emphasize enough the importance of proper planning for your outdoor recreation for the safety of all, including our first responders.