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Hikers rescued from Montgomery Woods in Mendocino County after being stranded overnight

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Henry 1 helicopter assisted the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and Cal Fire in rescuing two hikers stranded overnight Sunday in Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve.

The pair of hikers were both transported to the hospital but were expected to recover after their ordeal, which began shortly after they lost their way on a trail in the park Sunday afternoon, said Justin Buckingham, battalion chief with Ukiah Valley Fire.

The couple, a man and a woman, became disoriented and then weak while trying to find their way back to the trailhead, Buckingham said. The man then tried to retrace their steps to find help and left the woman on top of a ridge, where they had stopped to rest. But in the dark, he lost his way once again. Both hikers spent the night outside at the park.

The man reached Orr Hot Springs Resort about 11 a.m. Monday and called 911. Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and Cal Fire responded, rendered medical aid to the man and began the search for his partner.

Data from an app that the man used to track his route led the firefighters to the ravine, but they did not immediately locate the woman. After searching the area and calling out her name, the firefighters found she had fallen about 100 feet down the steep ravine, which left her with moderate injuries, Buckingham said.

Rather than risk further injury by moving her, Buckingham requested help from Henry 1. After a half-hour the crew arrived, and a helicopter crewman assisted firefighters in preparing the woman for flight. The crewman connected the woman, a firefighter/paramedic and himself to the bottom of a 200-foot-long line, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The crew flew the woman to Air Ambulance REACH 6 in Lakeport, from where she was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

Buckingham said the incident can serve as a reminder to hikers to notify someone where they are going and when they should be expected to return. He reminded hikers to also prepare for the elements.

“Maybe pack water and protein bars to sustain you in case it takes longer than you thought to get back,” Buckingham said.

You can reach Staff Writer Kaylee Tornay at 707-521-5250 or kaylee.tornay@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ka_tornay.

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