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SBSD - Headquarters
Sunday January 12th, 2020 :: 03:52 p.m. PST


The crew of Air Rescue 306 conducted a hoist rescue of two hikers on Devil's Backbone Trail east of Mt. Baldy Summit

DATE/TIME: December 10, 2019/ 2:30 p.m.

INCIDENT: Pick-Off Hoist Rescue

LOCATION: Devil's Backbone, Mt. Baldy

VICTIM(S): Raul Soltero, 27 years old, reisdent of Los Angeles Damian Torres, 28 years old, resident of Los Angeles

On Friday, January 10, 2020 at 2:30 p.m., Soltero and Torres were hiking on the Devil's Backbone Trail, located just east of the Mount Baldy Summit, in extremely icy conditions. Soltero, who was not wearing crampons, slipped on the ice and slid approximately 200 feet down an ice chute, before striking a tree, which arrested his slide. Torres was able to call for help.

Pilot Deputy Paul Kowalski and Tactical Flight Officer Deputy Larry Scott, the crew of 40King1, responded to the area and located Soltero. They determined a pick-off hoist rescue would be necessary due to Soltero's position on the icy slope.

Air Rescue 306, with a crew of Pilot Sergeant Daniel Futscher, Crew Chief Deputy David Negron, SBCFD Fire Captain Jay Hausman, Air Medic Matt Perkins and Air Medic Karen Bustillos, responded to the scene to conduct the hoist. Negron hoisted Hausman approximately 65 feet down to Soltero. Due to the icy slope, Hausman remained connected to the hoist hook, while he placed Soltero in a rescue harness. Negron then hoisted both Hausman and Soltero up to the helicopter and the crew transported Soltero to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

While the crew of Air Rescue 306 was at PVHMC, Torres realized he was in the same danger of slipping on the ice, as he too was not wearing crampons. He called again for help and stated he was unable to move from his position back to the trail. Air Rescue 306 responded back to the area and conducted a pick-off hoist rescue of Torres. Negron hoisted Hausman approximately 125 feet down to Torres and Hausman placed him in a rescue harness. Again, the icy conditions dictated Hausman could not disconnect from the hoist hook, and Hausman and Torres had to be hoisted approximately 100 feet to the helicopter. Torres was uninjured and was transported and released to a Fontana Station Corporal.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department would like to remind the public about the dangers of hiking in hazardous conditions such as steep, rugged, mountainous terrain covered with snow and ice. Without crampons (a specific type of traction device for ice climbing) and an ice axe, along with the proper training to use this equipment, this type of activity can lead to serious injury or death.

Refer: Daniel Futscher, Sergeant

Station: Aviation Unit

Phone No. 909-252-4100

Case No. DR#031903205

JOHN McMAHON, Sheriff-Coroner
San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department

SBSD - Headquarters
655 E 3rd St
San Bernardino, CA 92408

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 909-387-3700

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