Sheriff’s helicopters rescued two hikers who went off the trail in Ice House Canyon early Saturday morning.
At 6 a.m., Aug. 13, Paolo Barbosa, a 60-year-old Nuevo resident, Thinzar Htut, 46, of Palmdale, and Ai Tsuiki, 48, of Fontana, began their hike. Htut and Tsuiki fell behind, got lost and eventually ended up going off-trail, according to a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
They began climbing up the mountain in extremely steep, rugged terrain and ended up on a steep rock face and both found themselves in a precarious position. Htut was unable to move and was at risk of falling down the mountainside. The only thing holding her was a thin tree root. She lost both of her shoes and was standing on a rocky shelf with steep drop-offs on both sides.
After realizing there was no way to hike out, a Garmin inReach device was activated by Htut to get help.
Sheriff's Emergency Operations received the SOS and the crew of 40 King 6 responded to the GPS location given in the emergency call. The crew searched extensively and located the stranded hikers. The crew made announcements to the hikers and requested assistance from the crew of Air Rescue 306.
The crew of Air Rescue 306 responded and set up for a pick-off rescue. The crew had to be careful not to cause Thinzar to fall due to the helicopter's rotor wash. As the rescuer was lowered, the crew chief and the pilot worked together to "thread the needle" and place the rescuer between two large boulders, just below the victim.
After successfully placing the rescuer in position, the pilot had to hold a prolonged hover to allow the rescuer to place Htut in a harness. The crew then hoisted both to the helicopter and flew them to medical personnel waiting nearby. A deputy with the Fontana Sheriff's Station assisted with the coordination of the rescue.
The crew of Air Rescue 306 then returned to the location to rescue Tsuiki. A second rescuer was hoisted down to the small shelf she was standing on. The rescuer had to walk herself down a large boulder as she was being hoisted down by the crew.
Once on the ground, the rescuer secured Tsuiki in a harness and she was hoisted to the helicopter, followed by the rescuer. She was also released to medical personnel and reunited with Htut.
Barbosa was able to safely hike out by himself.
Ice House Canyon is a challenging 8.5-mile loop trail near Mount Baldy in the Cucamonga Wilderness, according to alltrails.com. It takes an average of five hours to complete climbing 2,631 feet to an elevation of 7,632 feet.