Sunday afternoon, Sept. 27, reserve volunteers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. (LASD) Montrose Search and Rescue (SAR) team were conducting training exercises in the Angeles National Forest when they were flagged down by citizens who informed them that a truck had gone over a cliff at mile marker 53.05.
Within minutes, LASD reserve volunteer members responded, including Dr. John Rodarte, who is also an LASD reserve and a Montrose SAR member. Upon arriving at the scene, the volunteers climbed inside the mangled truck, which had landed on its side and was pinned next to a tree. A 12-year-old girl was severely injured and trapped inside the truck, prompting rescue efforts to tip the truck off its side in order to extricate her. Once extricated, they immediately performed CPR on her and then again on the way up the hill to the waiting LASD Special Enforcement Bureau Air 5 Rescue helicopter.
CPR was continued the entire way to the hospital by Dr. Rodarte and Mike Leum, also a LASD reserve volunteer and Montrose SAR member, in a collaborative team effort with SEB Air 5 medics, who were also administering life-saving measures.
The parents of the young girl and one friend who were also inside the truck were transported to a local hospital and listed in good condition.
The young girl remains in critical condition.
The circumstances surrounding the traffic collision remain under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.