A 73-year-old hiker missing for a week near Mount Waterman in Los Angeles County has been found, authorities said Saturday.
Eugene Jo had been lost in the Mount Waterman area near La Canada Flintridge for a week, but the eighth rescue operation to find the missing hiker was successful. Members had been coming in from all over the state to find Jo, who is authorities say is alert, joking, talking and recovering at Huntington Memorial Hospital.
Rescuers had been re-tracing Jo's steps and looking for tracks since Saturday, June 22, with search and rescue teams traveling in from as far as the Bay Area.
Local news from across Southern California
Two members from Altadena Search and Rescue were climbing down "Devils Canyon" when they spotted Jo.
They said he was able to walk and communicate, but he was very weak after not eating food for five days. Jo's survival came down to finding water in Devil’s Canyon Creek, where levels were up due to heavier rainfall this year.
"Luckily, down in those canyons, there was water," Sgt. John Gilbert of LA County Sheriff's Department's Montrose Search and Rescue said. "We were praying that he would find one of the water sources down in that area so that way he could sustain himself and clearly he had to have, because clearly there is no way he could have survived this long without water."
Rescuers say it's not just trails they had to check, as they battled steep terrain and rugged wilderness.
The sheriff's department says that Jo's family was at the command post when the missing hiker was rescued.