Ventura County Sheriff – Incident Press Release
The Ventura County Aviation Unit and Ventura County Search and Rescue located two overdue hikers in the Sespe Wilderness.
On June 2, 2021, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service of two overdue hikers in the Sespe Wilderness. The hikers had planned a multi-day backpacking trek from the area of Dough Flats and planned to exit in the area of Grand Avenue in the unincorporated area North of Fillmore. The hikers began their trip on Friday, May 28 and expected to be out of the backcountry on Monday, May 31. They had filed a hiking plan with family members.
On Wednesday, June 2, at about 10:00 AM, a concerned family member called the Sheriff’s Office and informed them of the overdue hikers. They were able to provide the locations of staged vehicles which were quickly located by patrol deputies working at the Fillmore Patrol station. One of the vehicles on Grand Avenue had a note on the window stating the hiker’s plans and their expected exit date. Based on this information, Sheriff’s deputies suspected the couple was still in the backcountry.
A search began by helicopter of the areas of Tar Creek, Dough Flats, Devils Gate, The Sespe Hot Springs, and all surrounding trails. Initially the hikers were not located. The Sheriff’s Office activated the Fillmore and East Valley Search and Rescue teams to conduct a ground search. Search and Rescue teams were deployed from Dough Flats and from the area of Grand Avenue in the hopes of intercepting the hikers.
At about 4:30 PM, the helicopter conducted a secondary search of the area and located the hikers in the area of Tar Creek. Search and rescue members hiked to the hiker’s location. The hikers and Search and Rescue members were eventually able to drive out of the area and back to the City of Fillmore.
The hikers were able to drink water out of Sespe Creek with filtration devices they had brought with them. They were also equipped with food and first aid supplies. Besides being fatigued, they were uninjured. The hiking plan they had left with family members was extremely helpful in locating them.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind anyone who choices to enjoy the vast backcountry of Ventura County to be prepared. Proper survival gear and providing a hiking plan to a friend of family is always recommended and could aid in your rescue in the event you become stranded or injured. Information about recommended gear when taking a short hike or a multi-day trip can be found at www.vcsar3.org