Missing Hikers Rescued From California Mountains After 4 Days: 'We're Both Perfectly Fine'
Eric Desplinter and Gabrielle Wallace were hiking in California's San Gabriel Mountains when they got lost Saturday, prompting a massive search.
Rescuers spotted two pairs of footprints in Cucamonga Canyon and followed them to where Eric Desplinter, 33, and Gabrielle Wallace, 31, were keeping warm around a campfire Wednesday night. The pair had been last seen around 10 a.m. Saturday morning, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
When Desplinter and Wallace, who were expected back around 7 p.m. Saturday night, didn't show up, a friend quickly contacted authorities, KCBS reported.
Authorities launched a massive air and ground search that spanned more than four days. Wallace and Desplinter were believed to have limited food and water, and snow in the area could be as deep as 4 feet in some places, authorities said.
Both hikers' families came to the search area near Mount Baldy to await news. Brenda Wallace, Gabrielle's mother, said Desplinter is her daughter's boss and that she was confident the two would stick together.
“I know he wouldn’t leave her and she wouldn’t leave him,” Brenda told KCBS.
After being rescued Wednesday night, Gabrielle and Desplinter were brought to the Mount Baldy Fire Station and reunited with their families.
"We just lost the trail," Desplinter told reporters as he left the fire station. "We had a little bit of a slip going to the peak of Cucamonga Peak and decided we wouldn't go back up the ice and snow, so we tried to descend through a valley, but that valley was more treacherous than we thought."
Desplinter said the pair "rationed our food, drank water through a LifeStraw and kept as warm as possible."
He also thanked everyone who had dedicated their time looking for them.
"We're both perfectly fine, no serious injuries," he said. "Thank you to all the volunteers that were helping look for us, we're very grateful to be found tonight. I'm ready to get to bed and get some rest."
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