press release - 01171701

Sheriff's Search and Rescue Locating Lost Hikers


Sheriff's Search and Rescue Locating Lost Hikers




Night Vision of SAR Assisting Lost Hikers


Night Vision of SAR Assisting Lost Hikers

Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team Helps Locate Two Sets of Lost Hikers on Grass Mountain


Santa Barbara - January 17th, 2017


On Saturday, January 14, 2017, at approximately 4:30 p.m. dispatchers with the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center received a 9-1-1 call from a man and woman in their 40's from Santa Barbara County stating they had gone hiking on Grass Mountain off Figueroa Mountain Road and were lost.  They told the dispatchers they had hiked to the top of Grass Mountain and were on their way down when they took what they perceived was a shortcut and went off trail.   After traversing and climbing up a ridge, they found themselves in high brush and could not go any further with the fading light.  Dispatchers, working with the hikers’ cellular phones were able to calculate their GPS location. 


Members of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team (SBCSAR) were deployed to find and rescue the stranded couple.  While on their way to the Grass Mountain Trailhead, the dispatch center received another 9-1-1 call from a different couple indicating they were also on Grass Mountain and had inadvertently taken a wrong turn off the trail and were now lost and without any lights to find the trail down.  They were also complaining of being cold due to inadequate clothing they had with them.  Dispatchers were again successful in capturing a GPS signal from the second couple's phone and advised SBCSAR.  Upon plotting the coordinates, the two couples were determined to be within 1/2 mile of each other, but separated by a set of steep canyons and 300 feet in elevation.


SBCSAR deployed several teams and located the second pair that were lost and escorted them back down to the trailhead where they were released just before 8 p.m.  The SAR teams then concentrated their efforts trying to reach the initial stranded couple.  Using night vision equipment, SAR personnel navigated two hours up the steep canyon walls until they found the subjects.  Using computer maps and terrain following software, the SAR operations staff plotted a different route down another ridge to the main trail.  After an hour, the subjects and all SAR personnel successfully arrived back at the trailhead to conclude the operation at 11 p.m.


SBCSAR reminds the public if they are going out for hike they should go prepared and bring essential equipment that can be found at:  If you plan on starting your hike after noon, always bring flashlights and extra warm clothing.  In addition, SBCSAR highly encourages hikers to stay on the main trails and not try to take "shortcuts" in our heavily laden chaparral countryside.


For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover


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