An Air National Guard helicopter crew rescued a tired missing hiker suffering from dehydration in the El Dorado National Forest.
The crew from the 129th Rescue Wing spotted, landed and hiked to rescue Lauren Ellen Delatorre. She had been without food, water and warm clothing for 32 hours when the air crew found her on the Fourth of July.
The California National Guard was told Sunday evening by the state Emergency Management Agency that Delatorre was missing. The 129th Rescue Squadron was in position to help, having participated in a Fourth of July celebration near Lake Tahoe.
At about 9 a.m., according to a National Guard press release, the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter carried two civilian crews into the El Dorado National Forest to search for Delatorre. Just after dropping off the civilian crews so that they could begin their ground search, sharp-eyed members of the air crew spotted Delatorre in a remote part of the forest near Pioneer, Amador County.
The crew landed and climbed through steep and rocky terrain. They eventually reached Delatorre, who is in her 50s, and airlifted her to a command post where she was treated for minor injuries.
"With lost hiker searches, you hope for the best but prepare yourself for the worst," said aircraft commander Capt. Nathan Nowaski. "It was extremely gratifying to find the missing hiker and get her back to her family safely."