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Rescue teams pull chilly hikers to safety

December 28, 1996

MOUNT BALDY VILLAGE, Calif. (AP) _ Four teen-age hikers were lucky to suffer only mild hypothermia after spending the night in the woods and enduring sub-freezing temperatures without coats, authorities said.

Rescuers struggled in near-freezing rain all day Friday to remove the hikers, who became stranded 7,000 feet up Mount Baldy, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles.

Josh Ulrich, Daren Williams, John Jewitt and Joe Thoits, all 18 or 19 and from Claremont, were rescued early Friday evening

The men, who were clad only in jeans and light shirts, all were believed to have hypothermia and aching feet after an overnight stint on the slopes of the 10,064-foot mountain, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department spokesman deputy Rudy Vuittonet. None of their injuries were life-threatening.

The four friends had set out on the trail at 10 a.m. Thursday and veered off the path. When the four realized they were lost, they stopped and waited for help, Vuittonet said.

Their parents reported them missing around 8 p.m. Rescuers heard the men in the darkness around 2 a.m. Friday, but couldn’t find them until 6:30 a.m.

Ice, snow and nearly vertical terrain in the San Gabriel Mountains slowed the rescue.

Nearly 50 search and rescue volunteers were involved in the effort to rappel to the hikers and prepare them to be lifted up to a trail.

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