On Sunday afternoon, Sept. 8, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Cabazon station deputies responded to the Palm Springs Tram regarding a report of two hikers needing rescue.
They became lost while hiking at the top of the Palm Springs Tram.
The hikers were identified as Alejandro Escobedo, 62, of Austin, Texas and Tracey Pomeroy, 50, of Tempe, Ariz., according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Riverside County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team was notified and members of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park, the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit (RMRU), and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit, assisted with the rescue.
Escobedo had sufficient power in his cell phone to dial 911 and gave dispatchers an idea of where they were; however, later his cell phone battery ran out of charge. About 6:15 p.m., Riverside County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit located the lost hikers.
Due to the area where they were located (between Hidden Divide Reserve and Caramba) and nightfall approaching, it was necessary that aviation airlift the hikers to the bottom of the mountain.
Les Walker of Idyllwild and a Riverside Mountain Rescur Unit member was picked up at Keenwild Helibase and hoisted down to the stranded couple. He moved them to another location more conducive for lifting them up to the helicopter. They were returned to the tram parking lot.
“It was 55 degrees and getting colder,” Walker said. “They were in shorts and without water. They could have survived the night but it would have been uncomfortable.”
The Sheriff’s Department reminds hiking enthusiasts to carry proper equipment for any outdoor excursion. Proper preparedness includes a well thought out travel plan shared with friends and family, as well as familiarity with common hiking equipment, such as G.P.S., sufficient water, maps and compasses.
RMRU offers several helpful, lifesaving tips at their website (www.rmru.org).