Mt. Baldy hiker plummets to his death after rescuing friend

A Cal State Long Beach graduate fell 1,500 feet to his death Tuesday after struggling to help a friend during a hiking expedition on Mt. Baldy, authorities said.

Daniel Nguyen, 23, was walking along the Devil’s Backbone Trail about 7 a.m. when his friend began slipping, according to Jodi Miller, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Nguyen tried pulling his friend to safety, but instead, he slipped off the trail and down the mountainside.

About 7:41 a.m., the friend called deputies to report Nguyen missing. A Sheriff’s Department helicopter found the Garden Grove man about 9:05 a.m.; he was pronounced dead at 5:16 p.m.

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Devil’s Backbone is a difficult, 12.9-mile hike that winds through Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Wilderness, according to AllTrails website.

According to friends and family, Nguyen recently graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in kinesiology. Described as a lover of outdoor activities, Nguyen was an avid hiker, according to a GoFundMe fundraising account.

“What a tragic loss of a great young man who was smart, sincere, funny, caring, with good morals, and was a superb human being,” fundraising organizer Connie Nguyen wrote.

The online fundraising account was created to help Nguyen’s parents pay for funeral expenses.

"Daniel Nguyen, a 2015 Kinesiology alum, will be remembered for doing what he loved," the university wrote on Facebook.

On Nguyen's Facebook page, an anonymous quote titled "It's All in Your Mind" is placed prominently on his page.

It read, "Whatever you hold in your mind will tend to occur in your life. If you continue to believe as you have always believed, you will continue to act as you have always acted. If you continue to act as you have always acted, you will continue to get what you have always gotten. If you want different results in your life or your work, all you have to do is change your mind."

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