A hiker suffered a leg injury during a fall Thursday on a trail in rough terrain east of Mountain Center, requiring firefighters to mount a rescue operation to bring him out of the San Bernardino National Forest.
The “hiker down” call was received about 3:05 p.m. on the Pacific Crest Trail, in the vicinity of Apache Peak, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
Crews were unable to drive anywhere close to where the man was left stranded due to what a battalion chief at the scene described as “steep, rugged terrain” that would necessitate a three- to four-hour hike by firefighters to reach him.
Crews staged near a residence in the 58900 block of Apple Canyon Road, and a Cal Fire helicopter was summoned, arriving shortly before 4 p.m. to attempt a hoist lift of the patient, whose identity was not released.
The crew spotted the man sitting beneath trees overlooking a ridge, but according to the fire department, the lift was called off because of a change in weather conditions at the location, where elevations range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.
Firefighters had no alternative but to hike into the area to carry the man out — an operation not expected to conclude until well into the night.
The circumstances behind the man’s fall, and the extent of his injury, were not immediately known.
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