LASD Air-5 Rescue Hikers

A U.S. Forestry Recreation Technician working in the Angeles National Forest noticed several people who appeared to be trapped on a cliff near Altadena and called in rescuers at 11:57AM on Sunday.

By 12:25PM, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Air-5 Rescue pilots & Emergency Services Detail (Special Enforcement Bureau), had rescued a 19-year old South Pasadena woman who had gone on a day hike with friends and became trapped on a cliff with a 100 foot drop to a canyon below.

A deputy paramedic was lowered from the helicopter via hoist as it hovered hundreds of feet above Millard Canyon to rescue the woman who was trapped on the edge of a cliff. She was hoisted up into the helicopter by deputies and flown uninjured to Farnsworth Park, Altadena.

The rescue was videotaped by deputies who were wearing helmet cameras.

“The young woman was very scared and nearly let go of the cliff to jump into the arms of ESD Paramedic Deputy Ricky Hernandez as soon as he was close enough to reach out to her,” said Sheriff’s SEB Sergeant Tom Giandomenico, Crew Chief of the rescue. “He motioned to her to wait, and was able to attach the safety harness before we hoisted her up into the rescue helicopter. If she had let go before we were ready, she would not have survived the fall.”

Sgt. Giandomenico added, “When we got her into the helicopter it was clear that she was not having fun today and she just wanted to get back onto level ground.”

Meanwhile, two other people were rescued by ground rescuers.

The Sheriff’s Altadena Search and Rescue Team, assisted by Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters from Station 82, used rope lines nearby to assist the 17-year old male and 18-year old female day hikers who were trapped 40 feet above the canyon bottom. It was unsafe for the hikers to climb down and the dirt was too loose above them to climb up.

Deputies and firefighters set up a rope system and provided helmets to the hikers.

Altadena Search and Rescue team reserve deputies then lowered the two people to safety on the canyon floor, where after telling their rescuers how happy they were to see them, all hiked out of the canyon with the deputies, uninjured.

The three rescued teens were reunited with a fourth member of their hiking group, an 18-year old man, who had been able to hike out on his own. All are residents of South Pasadena. The day hikers were all lightly dressed and did not have provisions.

The cliff above Millard canyon is just west of Eaton Canyon in Altadena.

VIDEO of the air rescue has been made available to the news media and will later be loaded onto

Sgt. Tom Giandomenico , Sheriff’s Air-5 Rescue Crew Chief said: “Always be prepared when you go backcountry hiking and don’t overestimate your abilities. Always tell people where you are going and don’t count on your cell phone to work in nature.”

The Air-5 Rescue helicopter crew and the eight Search and Rescue teams of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department average about 350 search and rescue missions every year, making it one of the most active counties for search and rescue missions in the nation.


Enjoy Nature – Plan your Hike by filling out the Sheriff’s Department’s Hiking Plan Sheet:


Hiking/Camping is a fun way to get family and friends together to enjoy the outdoors, and to get some physical activity. However, you should always be prepared for the unexpected. You should tell family and friends what your plans are and provide a list of who will be going with you. That’s why the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department would like to remind the residents of Los Angeles County that having a hiking / camping plan is crucial to survival in case of an emergency.


Before you leave, please fill out Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue – Hiking Plan sheet and provide to a loved one to hold onto just in case something happens to a member of your hiking/camping expedition. You can download the form by visiting: