LA County

Sheriff's Deputies Save 16-Year-Old Hiker Stranded on Slippery Ledge

Sturtevant Falls is one of the most beautiful falls in the Angeles National Forest, but the cliff is covered in moss. That is where a teen found himself trapped 100 feet up.

"We get a lot of young kids, they like to go during summertime and do flips, jump in the water area but sometimes they get themselves in a predicament," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Daniel Aleman.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff Air Rescue 5 team took the call of a 16-year-old in big trouble at Sturtevant Falls.

Rocks near the falls are very polished and slippery.

"You can't really see it, and once you step on it with wet feet, you are gone," Deputy Mark Desmarteau said.

The teen was stranded at the mouth of the 100-foot falls.

"We were like, 'man this guy is in a really bad spot,'" Aleman said.

His only options were to enter a pool of very cold water or scale a tiny ledge that was two feet wide and covered with moss.

"He had nowhere to go, Aleman said. "He could either stand on the ledge or sit in the water and get hypothermic"

The team made a difficult call.

"It was such a precarious situation that we got on the PA and told him to get back into the water for his own safety," Aleman said.

Rescuers did not want to risk the teen slipping as the helicopter maneuvered into the very narrow canyon.

"The pilots did a fantastic job of nosing the helicopter in with the rotor blades several feet from the canyon wall," Desmarteau said.

Once in position, the crew set up for a hoist operation.

"We had one of our medics take all his gear off, and his gun belt off because he was going to get in the water," Aleman said.

The crew chief lowered the medic and the teen was successfully retrieved without any injuries, -- except maybe his pride.

"There is no room for forgiveness in the mountains," Aleman said. "They look like they are all fun and everything is good, but once you get out there and take things for granted, you find yourself in a bad spot sometimes."

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