Hiker Rescued By Police Helicopter

Published: 5/26/2017

RIVERSIDE, CA - On Friday, May 26, 2017, at about 10:40 a.m., the Riverside Police Department’s Emergency Dispatch Center received calls of a person possibly stranded needing assistance on Sugarloaf Mountain. This mountain is near the University neighborhood behind the University of California, Riverside campus. The Air Support Unit (AIR-1) quickly responded to the mountain to conduct a search.

The caller could not see the subject but felt they may be in trouble because they were yelling for help and loudly whistling. AIR-1 arrived and located a subject hiking on the mountain that was signaling to them. Because of this person’s remote location, AIR-1 landed on a ridgeline to contact him. Once on the ground, the aircrew discovered this person was actually one of the callers. He pointed up the mountain in the direction he heard a female calling for help.

AIR-1 was able to locate a young adult female hiker about three-fourths of the way up the mountain on the side of a large rock. They used their loudspeaker to determine if she could hike up to the top where they could pick her up, but she indicated she could not hike anymore. Police Pilot Jeff Ratkovich was able to land on this large rock with only one skid, which allowed his partner, Sergeant Erik Lindgren, to get out and assist the hiker. The aircrew determined the hiker was not injured but unable to make it down on her own.

Sgt. Lindgren led the hiker to a better landing zone but still required Pilot Ratkovich to perform a oneskid landing on the mountain. Carefully, the hiker was loaded into the back seat of the helicopter and flown down to the east end of Marlborough Avenue where the Riverside Fire Department was already staged to evaluate the patient.

It was determined the young hiker climbed up the mountain when she became tired and disoriented, then was unable to find her way off the steep side where she was later found.

The City of Riverside has many beautiful places to hike and explore. This incident serves as a reminder to make sure you are prepared with appropriate clothing, hydration, communication device, and the necessary physical fitness needed for whatever local venture you choose to take.