- Authorities have located the hikers who were missing in California. They were found alive.
- Eric Desplinter and Gabrielle Wallace were missing for five days near the state’s Mt. Baldy.
- A search party was able to locate them because it spotted a trail of their footprints.
- The duo survived in the wild by rationing food and using a special filtration straw.
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Authorities have located the pair of hikers who were missing in the California mountains, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release on Wednesday.
— San Bernardino County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) April 11, 2019
The hikers, Eric Desplinter and Gabrielle Wallace, were missing for nearly five days near the state’s Mt. Baldy. The duo intended to go on a one-day hike on Saturday, but they did not return by sundown as planned, ABC News reported.
For days, officials surveyed the area looking for the pair. Finally, on Wednesday, a search team spotted two sets of footprints.
The team was able to use the trail to inform their larger search. Using a helicopter, crews discovered a campfire and spotted two people from overhead, which they believed to be Desplinter, 33, and Wallace, 31.
Although they had set out for a one-day hike, Desplinter and Wallace came prepared with gear and food – all of which may have enabled them to survive.
“We rationed our food, drank water through a LifeStraw, kept as warm as possible,” Desplinter told ABC-affiliated KABC.
A LifeStraw is a specialised water filter that cleans contaminated water as a person drinks.
The duo also had equipment like spiked shoes and ice axes with them, per KABC. Both Desplinter and Wallace have been described as “experienced hikers.”
On Saturday, they started their hike with two others. But KABC reports that half of their hiking party turned around because the trail was “treacherous.” Both Desplinter and Wallace took an alternative, apparently dangerous route through a valley, causing them to get lost per KABC.
During the nearly five-day rescue mission, authorities said they combed 30 square miles of land looking for the hikers.
On Wednesday, Despliner and Wallace were hoisted out of the region and brought to the Mt. Baldy fire station where they were reunited with friends and family and assessed by medical professionals.
“We’re very grateful to be found tonight, “Desplinter said on Wednesday. “I’m ready to get to bed and get some rest.”
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