TRABUCO CANYON — An 18-year-old Costa Mesa hiker who was missing for four nights was airlifted to an area hospital after a hiker discovered her Thursday morning, officials said.
Kyndall Jack was found in a dense brushy area in Trabuco Canyon, according to KTLA footage that showed two rescuers repelling down into the area on the side of a canyon and making contact with the teen.
Jack was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, according to John Murray, a spokesman for the hospital. Her condition was not immediately known.
One rescuer suffered a head injury during efforts to find Jack, and at one point his injuries took precedent over rescue efforts because of the seriousness of his injuries, officials said.
Jack’s discovery originated from a hiker hearing a distressed female voice calling for help, authorities said. There is no indication the hiker was part of the search.
Lt. Jason Park with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department called the discovery “a tremendous victory.”
Access to the canyon was limited for volunteer searchers Thursday because at least a dozen separate incidents had interfered with search efforts Wednesday, according to Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Jon Muir.
Nicolas Cendoya, 19, was rescued about 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Prior to Jack’s rescue, her father, Russ Jack, told reporters his family was clearing a path to the spot where Cendoya was found using machetes. He said Cendoya guessed he hadn't seen Jack in one day, and his daughter may have hurt her ankle.
Volunteer searchers were asked to stay away earlier in the morning from Holy Jim Canyon because "it's gotten technical enough" to require trained people, according to Orange County Fire Authority division Chief Michael Boyle. Search dogs need the area to be relatively uncontaminated.
A sheriff's car and deputies monitored the entrance near Trabuco Flyers Club at Trabuco Canyon and Trabuco Creek Road. Only family and emergency personnel were allowed up near the searchers' staging area.
Boyle said search crews were energized by finding Cendoya.
"This place came alive last night," Boyle said.
"Finding him did not change the plan for today," he said. "It did not have any impact on the intensity or commitment of the search."
Officials, who had centered the search around the area where they found Cendoya, had remained hopeful and optomistic about finding Jack.
Jack and Cendoya may have separated after she twisted her ankle, according to Russ Jack.
He added that Cendoya, who was disoriented when he was found, said he thought she had already been rescued.
"Of course we're all kind of broke up," Russ Jack said. "That hurt us that they split up somehow. But apparently Kyndall has twisted her ankle or something and could not keep up with Nicolas trying to get out of the brush they're in."