The San Benito County Sheriff’s Office found two missing hikers and their dog in the Clear Creek Management Area of south county.
According to a sheriff’s statement:
On Feb. 25 at approximately 3 a.m., San Benito County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a call for overdue hikers in the Clear Creek Management Area off of Coalinga Road.
Family of the hikers called with a concern the couple had not yet returned to their hotel in Coalinga, CA and they were not answering their phone. The hikers, following a very smart protocol, had left copies of their Clear Creek use permit, planned route, personal photos, photo of their truck and photo of their license plate with family in case they became injured or lost. These items were given to the Deputies.
Soon after, a call went out to the San Benito County Search and Rescue Team (SAR) and ACS/RACES: Auxiliary Communications Service/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service Team. Both teams mobilized immediately and began to assemble their gear for a response to Clear Creek.
Ahead of the teams were Sergeant Lobdell and Deputy Canez who were working patrol and responded directly to the scene. Upon arrival, Sergeant Lobdell and Deputy Canez began what is called a “hasty search” along the path believed to have been travelled by the missing couple. Approximately 4 miles into the park, the deputies located the couple just off the roadway. Their Ford F-350 had slid off the dirt road and was stuck in a sizeable rut. They had been stuck there since approximately 10pm the night prior.
The deputies were able to use a “winch,” affixed to a Sheriff’s Office Dodge Ram 4×4 truck, to pull the couple to safety. The deputies followed the couple out to Coalinga Road by way of Clear Creek Road. The couple then made their return trip to San Francisco via Coalinga.
The couple, along with their dog, had survived the night in their truck. They had packed supplies in case they were stranded. The temperature in Clear Creek on the night/morning of the 24th/25th got down to nearly 25 degrees. They had a safety plan in place they shared with family. The San Benito County Sheriff’s Office encourages all to do the same in the event you are going to hike/camp/hunt/spend time in our open spaces in San Benito County. Have a plan, supplies and always let family or friends know where you are going.
The San Benito County Sheriff’s Office has a dedicated, all-volunteer Search and Rescue/ACS/RACES Team that is ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. Our team is invaluable to our community.
Anybody with information on this, or any other case, is asked to call our anonymous tip-line at 831 636-4084 or the Detective Bureau at (831) 636-4080.