A 73-year-old hiker who was missing in the California mountains has been found alive after surviving for a week with no food

LASD Montrose Search & Rescue TeamEugene Jo and rescuers.
  • Eugene Jo, 73, was rescued from Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains, north of Los Angeles, on Saturday.
  • He was reported missing June 22 after becoming separated from his hiking group.
  • Rescuers said Jo stayed alive by drinking water from a river bed and getting close to hot rocks for warmth at night. He had no food during the ordeal.
  • Jo was taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California, on Saturday but did not appear to have any traumatic injuries. He was released Sunday.
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A 73-year-old man was rescued over the weekend after surviving in a California forest for seven days without any food.

Eugene Jo was reported missing June 22 after he became separated from his hiking group in the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains, north of Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

He was located Saturday morning, a week later, near Devil’s Canyon – a few miles from where he went missing – when he heard rescuers’ voices and started shouting, the Los Angeles station KTLA reported.

Rescuers told CBS Los Angeles that Jo stayed alive by drinking water from a riverbed and getting close to hot rocks for warmth at night.

“He would wrap his jacket around him and the beach towel that he had with him,” Janet Henderson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Search & Rescue, told CBS Los Angeles. “He got in close next to the hot rocks because it is very hot up there and those rocks do heat up and that’s how he kept himself warm at night.”

Henderson said Jo was unable to find food during the ordeal.


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About 75 people split into 11 teams to search for Jo in the San Gabriel Mountains last week.

“He said it took everything he had to roll over his hands and knees and yell for help and that’s when the rescuers heard him,” Henderson said.

Jo was taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California, on Saturday but did not appear to have any traumatic injuries. He was released Sunday.

Jo’s daughter, Grace, told CBS Los Angeles that her father was home and “pretty much his old self.”

“He didn’t realise that so many people were looking for him and the extent of where they can from all over the state, and became emotional when he found out just how many, especially because the first time he heard any human voices was the morning he got rescued,” she said. “We’re still barely comprehending the extent of this miracle.”

Jo said he did not plan on hiking again.

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