By Carla Meyer
California Highway Patrol air rescuers battled windy conditions to pluck two stranded teenagers from a 8,600-foot-high cliff in the Sierra Buttes Saturday.
CHP Valley Division Air Operations responded at 5:45 p.m. Saturday to a call from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection about two boys stranded in the area of the Sierra Buttes lookout station. The boys, ages 16 and 17, had been climbing along a steep ridge line before becoming stranded.
CHP personnel, after consulting with the Sierra County Sheriff's Department, dispatched a plane and a helicopter. As the plane's cameras zoomed in on the teens, officers in the plane communicated with the boys via loudspeaker.
Because 20-mph-plus winds kept blowing the helicopter off course, it took several attempts to successfully lower the rescue harness. The boys eventually were hoisted up and into the helicopter individually, and released safely and uninjured in a designated landing zone on Highway 49.
The boys had been on a hike, but were not wearing proper hiking gear, said CHP flight officer Kevin Livingston, who was part of the rescue. "They were just in shorts and T-shirts," he said.