By Mary O’KEEFE
As the New Year begins, Montrose Search and Rescue continues responding to calls for assistance, whether they come from local families or other search and rescue teams.
Several members of MSR are assisting in the search in Big Bear for a missing Irvine woman. According to reports, the 35-year-old woman was last seen at her home on Dec. 29. She was reported missing the next day. Rescue teams and San Bernardino County sheriffs, including a search dog and air support, have been searching the mountains near Fawnskin.
Los Angeles County had four teams assisting the Big Bear search on Tuesday.
The Montrose Search and Rescue team was busy at year’s end as hikers and bikers miscalculated time and found themselves lost in the mountains in the cold and dark.
On Dec. 30, the team responded to assist Altadena Search and Rescue in locating four missing hikers.
“Altadena Search and Rescue were activated at 6 a.m. for four missing hikers [in Angeles National Forest]. They [then] activated Montrose Search and Rescue to assist at 7 a.m.,” said Mike Leum, MSR member.
The four hikers consisted of one woman and two men in their 20s and another man in his 60s. They had planned for a day hike.
“The plan was to do a loop of a trail system that pretty much doesn’t exist anymore after the Station Fire and floods,” Leum said.
The four found themselves unable to make their way out of the area before sunset and were forced to spend the night. They had some supplies but not enough for overnight.
“Luckily they ran into two guys that were camping overnight,” Leum said. “Those guys had a fire going, food and supplies.”
They spent the night at the camp.
“One of the members of the four became hypothermic overnight without having a warm jacket or sleeping bag,” Leum added.
MSR members located the four; in fact, it was one of the team’s newest members, Collin Lievense, who found them.
“This was his first find,” Leum said. “So now he knows what it feels like to yell out someone’s name and get a response.”
This rescue was right on the heels of another search for two bicyclists who were lost the day before. The bikers were also victims of time.
“They did not allow enough time to complete their ride forcing them to spend the night,” Leum said. “And they were in T-shirts.”
Last weekend was a little quieter apart from an over-the- side vehicle. The team had extra help with actor and Reserve Deputy Lou Ferrigno.
Ferrigno can often be found volunteering his time with MSR as they patrol the Angeles National Forest.
The year ended with a record breaking 127 callouts for MSR.