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Rescuers Free 5 Hikers Stuck on Lofty Ledge

What looked like a short cut down a mountainside in Placerita Canyon State Park led to a 125-foot-high ledge where three women and two boys were trapped for an hour Sunday before being rescued by firefighters, authorities said.

After frantic calls for help to park visitors below, the stranded hikers were carried to safety. No one was injured, said Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Don Heflin.

“There was definitely the possibility that we could have fallen straight down,” said a relieved Judy Bakenhus, 30, of El Sereno. “I was definitely frightened.”

Rescued with Bakenhus from the area east of Newhall were her friends Margaret Suarez of El Sereno and her son Alan Vasquez, 4, and Yvonne Duran of San Gabriel and her son Javier Garcia, 4.

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Bakenhus said the group was following a hiking trail about 1 p.m. when it turned onto what authorities said was a narrow animal path that eventually led to the ledge on the 45-degree slope.

The group was unable to backtrack because the soil was too slippery and loose, she said.

The hikers yelled and waved their arms to attract attention.

A Fire Department helicopter crew found the hikers and landed about 300 yards above the ledge.

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Firefighters lowered themselves onto the ledge with ropes and carried the hikers to safety.

Bakenhus said the adults were more frightened than the boys.

“They just kind of understood that we were stuck there and that we were just going to have to wait,” she said.


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