An injured hiker who was stranded for four days in Malibu Creek State Park said Friday he was grateful to be alive.
Marcelo Santos, 30, was reported missing on Sunday, and although searchers found his backpack — which included his cell phone — he was not in the area.
Speaking to reporters at West Hills Hospital, where he’s being treated for a serious leg injury, Santos said that he became disoriented in the darkness and lost his bag.
“I didn’t have any survival gear on me — no flashlights, no sweater, no lighter — and I just had to trek on down the mountain until I found some water,” he said.
Santos said he injured his leg Sunday night when he slid down the rock face of a cliff and landed on a rock. He decided his only option at that point was to try to make his way down to lower ground.
“I could hear some highway sounds, so I was trying to follow highway sounds … down below,” he said.
Santos said he heard the sounds of rescue helicopters, but the canopy of trees kept him hidden from sight. He finally was found by searchers after he made his way to a Salvation Army camp.
“… I had no energy left, I was dehydrated, I had no nutrients left in my body, I was hurt,” Santos said. “I just knew if I gave up, though, that I would literally just be giving up my life, because no one was going to find me where I was — I needed to keep moving — so I just found the will to keep going.”
Despite his ordeal, he said he would go hiking again after he recovers.