A hiker, who ventured off-trail and became seriously injured after he fell from a large boulder, was airlifted out of Joshua Tree National Park.
Sergio Betancur was hiking with friends in the park on Saturday. The group went off-trail, through some large boulders. Betancur climbed along a large rock formation and fell as he jumped from one large rock to another, according to a media release. He suffered a serious but non-life threatening injury to his leg as a result of the fall.
Betancur’s friends hiked to the entrance of the park in order to get cell phone reception and, once they got it, called 9-1-1. San Bernardino County Fire Department and Joshua Tree National Park Rangers received the call and rushed to the scene.
Rescue teams and Betancur’s friends hiked to the general location, however, it took several hours to locate him. Due to the inability to locate Betancur right away, combined with the injury he sustained, a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department patrol helicopter was requested to assist. Once Betancur was located by fire personnel, it was determined he would need to be hoisted out.
Sheriff’s patrol helicopter 40King3 arrived at the location and assessed the situation. The crew conducted the rescue operation at night and utilized night vision equipment in order to secure Betancur into a rescue harness.
Betancur was hoisted from the rock and taken to the hospital for treatment.