Authorities rescued four teenage hikers early Monday morning from the Point Sal Beach and Mussel Point wilderness west of Santa Maria. The 17-year-old boys were hiking late Sunday afternoon with the father of one teen, but they became lost after the father had to hike back, said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover in a press release. The father spoke on the phone with the boys, who said they were headed back but safe, and waited for them.
Around 8:00 p.m. Sunday night, the teens called the State Beach Park Ranger to report they were lost. Despite having flashlights, they weren’t prepared to spend the night outdoors, said Hoover. Members of Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SBCSAR) traced the GPS coordinates of one hiker’s phone, but “pitch darkness,” “dense fog,” and “muddy conditions” made the search challenging. SBCSAR traveled up-road via three specialty vehicles and then hiked to the group.
Just before 3:00 a.m., rescuers found the teens, “cold but otherwise unharmed and in good condition,” according to Hoover. They were given warm clothes and medical evaluations before SBCSAR hiked the four to the main trail and drove them to the trailhead, where they reunited with their parents around 4:30 a.m.