The Washington Post

Teen hikers rescued after massive snowfall


When his 17-year-old son and a friend headed off for a 10-day trek in the Southern California mountains, Cesar Ramirez said he wasn’t too worried. The teens were avid hikers with ample food in their backpacks, a tent and snowshoes, plus they had extensive training and aspiration­s to join the military.

But when the snow began pummeling the mountains east of Los Angeles by the foot and Ramirez lost contact with them through a tracking app, he called the San Bernardino County Sheriff ’s Department. Officials dispatched a helicopter to the boys’ last known location, followed their foot tracks, and spotted and rescued them. By then, Ramirez’s son had lost his jacket to the wind, and their tent had broken, the father said.

“They’ve told us, ‘We were already convinced we were going to die,’ ” said Ramirez, of Cypress, Calif.

The dramatic rescue came as California has struggled to dig out residents in mountain communitie­s from as much as 10 feet of snow after back-to-back storms.

San Bernardino County Sheriff ’s Sgt. John Scalise said the boys were slightly hypothermi­c and lucky to be alive after huddling together for three nights to stay warm.

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