A hiker died on Cold Spring Trail as he attempted to save his female companion after they both suffered serious injuries in a fall. Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover said officials are still investigating the incident, but explained it appears the pair — both in their 20s — headed up the trail on March 16 at around 4 p.m., and fell approximately 45 minutes later.
The female suffered two broken ankles and a broken wrist, Hoover said. The male suffered a serious injury to his arm. Their identities have not been released. “After a period of time, the male hiker went to get help and was fatally injured when he fell again about 20 to 30 feet down a rocky ledge,” Hoover said in a prepared statement.
At 10:30 a.m. the next morning, a couple hiking on the lower section of Cold Spring Trail called 9-1-1 to report a body 10-15 feet off the trail. Sheriff’s deputies and the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team responded to the area, but because of the location of the body, it took crews several hours to recover it.
Nearly six hours later, other hikers on the upper area of Cold Spring Trail discovered the injured female and called 9-1-1. She was airlifted to Cottage Hospital and is recovering from her injuries, Hoover said.
[UPDATE, 2:00 p.m.]: Santa Barbara authorities have released the identity of the hiker who died on Cold Spring Trail as he attempted to save his injured friend. The deceased hiker was identified as 22-year-old Brenden Michael Vega of Ventura, and his companion was identified as 22-year-old Saylor Guilliams of Ventura.
“The hikers had gone on a late afternoon hike and were unprepared for the conditions,” said Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover, noting the pair tried to light their way down the trail with their cell phones, but fell several times. “After calling for help for several hours, Vega reportedly left Guilliams alone to get help,” Hoover said. “While traveling down the trail, he fell off a rocky ledge and was killed.”
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, and toxicology results are pending, Hoover said.