Share This Page

Calif. hiker lost for days released from hospital

| Sunday, April 7, 2013, 7:54 p.m.

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. — One of two Southern California teens lost for several days in a rugged mountain wilderness was released on Sunday from a hospital since being treated for dehydration and minor injuries.

Nicolas Cendoya said he hallucinated but never gave up hope that he would be rescued during his ordeal that began with a planned short day hike on Easter with a friend.

While wandering in chest-high brush, Cendoya reflected on what he considered recent selfish behaviors, like focusing too much on himself and not enough on his family.

“So that's why when all this happened; I didn't cry, I didn't fear it. I just embraced everything. I said, ‘This is what I deserve,' ” Cendoya said outside Orange County's Mission Hospital. “I just knew I would get through it. I knew this wasn't my time to die. I knew that I needed this, to become the person that I'm supposed to be.”

The 19-year-old's comments were broadcast by KNX Radio.

Cendoya was found late Wednesday when spotted by hikers in Cleveland National Forest. He was airlifted to the hospital in serious but stable condition. On Friday, the hospital released a photo a smiling Cendoya pointing his thumb up.

His friend, 18-year-old Kyndall Jack, was discovered on Thursday clinging to a rocky outcropping no bigger than a yoga mat on a near-vertical slope. She was being treated in University of California, Irvine Medical Center for dehydration and hypothermia.

The two had gone missing on Easter, when they called 911 to report they were lost and out of water after wandering off Holy Jim Trail during what they expected would be an easy day hike.

The popular trail is in the Cleveland National Forest, where the dangers of 720 square miles of rugged mountain wilderness run smack up against the planned communities and shopping malls of suburban southeast Orange County.

A reserve deputy who slipped and fell 10 feet, hitting his chest on a rock before falling another 50 feet and hitting his head, was listed in serious condition, The Orange County Register reported Friday. A San Bernardino County Sheriff's search and rescue coordinator said the deputy suffered cuts to his head, a punctured lung and broken ribs.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.