Los Angeles

Man Slides to Death Down Ice Chute, 4 Others Hurt in Angeles National Forest

Hikers went sliding down a 70-degree, ice-covered mountain slope, on treacherous alpine mountaintop

A 67-year-old Gardena resident slid to his death down an ice chute in the mountains, the Coroner's Office announced Sunday.

Michael J. Yoo of Gardena was killed in the accident, according to Investigator Rudy Molano of the coroner's office. Four other hikers were injured when they slid down a 70-degree, ice-covered mountain slope, in treacherous alpine mountaintop conditions some 7,000 feet above sea level, in the Angeles National Forest.

A Ventura County search and rescue happened to be training in the area, and called in help from Los Angeles County sheriff's and fire rescue crews.

The series of disasters was east of where the Angeles Crest (2) Highway meets Highway 39, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters. The site is about 25 miles west-southwest of Wrightwood.

About 10:30 a.m. Saturday, members of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department East Valley Search and Rescue Team were in the mountains, conducting their annual snow and ice training. They were contacted by a good Samaritan, who informed them about the missing hikers, said Ventura County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Dyer.

The Samaritan reported that the hikers had fallen down an ice chute approximately two miles north of their current location, Dyer said.

The Ventura County crew called their dispatchers via satellite phone, and they notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, requesting additional resources. Fifteeen rescuers from Ventura County set out to help locate the injured hikers, he said.

The L.A. sheriff's helicopter spotted one man, who was rescued and treated, and went back to look for more after requesting L.A. fire department helicopters to join the search, Peters said.

The injured hikers were spotted about 300 feet down an icy slope, approximately one mile north of their starting point, Dyer said. Rescue rope systems were deployed form choppers and rescuers made contact with the injured hikers.

One man was found with minor injuries and hypothermia, a woman was found critically injured with head and neck injuries and one person was suffering chest pains, Peters said.

Three injured hikers were taken to hospitals, one was treated and released at the scene. Yoo was pronounced dead at the location, Peters said.

Firefighters on the ground had difficulty reaching the site due to storm-damaged roads, he said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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