Nearly five days after a pair of hikers went missing in the snowy California mountains, a search and rescue effort in San Bernardino County has come to a close.
Eric Desplinter, 33, and Gabrielle Wallace, 31, were found alive and healthy on the evening of April 10 in California’s San Gabriel Mountains, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Rescuers were tipped off to the pair’s status after noticing two sets of footprints in Cucamonga Canyon, and a helicopter crew discovered Desplinter and Wallace huddled around a campfire for warmth.
The hikers were expected to return around 7 p.m. on April 6 and were last seen around 10 am that same morning, KCBS-TV reported.
One of two hikers found safe after 4 nights missing on Mt. Baldy speaks after being rescued. Eric Desplinter & Gabrielle Wallace are safe tonight & have been reunited w/ family members. They say thank you to the rescue crews @nbcla #nbcla @alexvnews @KHOLMESlive
Posted by Kim Tobin on Thursday, April 11, 2019
The hikers were not injured, and they survived by rationing food and drinking water through a filtration straw. They made a campfire to keep warm during the chilly spring nights.
After search teams rescued the pair from the mountains, they were reunited with their families at the Mount Baldy Fire Station.
“We just lost the trail,” Desplinter told KCBS-TV.
“We had a little bit of a slip going to the peak of Cucamonga Peak and decided we wouldn’t go back up the ice and snow, so we tried to descend through a valley, but that valley was more treacherous than we thought.”
Desplinter thanked everyone involved in the search and rescue effort, which spanned nearly five days.
“We’re both perfectly fine, no serious injuries,” Desplinter said. “Thank you to all the volunteers that were helping look for us, we’re very grateful to be found tonight. I’m ready to get to bed and get some rest.”
Here they are. The team of three.Donovan Leung, Alan Leung and Taison Tran with Sierra Madre Search and Rescue…
Given the number of days and nights the pair had to survive on their own in the mountains, authorities are thankful that this story has a happy ending.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s department expressed gratitude to the volunteers who came out to assist with the search.
“Volunteers are a real blessing to our agencies, providing thousands of hours giving back to make our communities better and stronger,” Sheriff John McMahon said.
“This is a perfect example of their commitment.”