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Irvine mountain biker found after canyon ride

Mountain biker
Authorities speak to supporters of James Kretzschmar, an Irvine mountain biker, near the command post for the search for him.
(KTLA)

Rescue crews Thursday found a 40-year-old Irvine man who had disappeared after a mountain biking trip in San Juan Capistrano the day before.

James Kretzschmar’s wife called Irvine police Wednesday just before midnight to say she hadn’t heard from Kretzschmar in hours, police said. He had been biking in the canyons off Ortega Highway, she told police.

Overnight, authorities found Kretzschmar’s car in a parking lot for the Lazy W Ranch campground near the highway.

A helicopter and at least 20 ground personnel from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department scoured the area, Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock told Times Community News.

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About 2 p.m., searchers heard a man calling for help and discovered Kretzschmar in Lion Canyon, about five miles from a San Juan fire station on Ortega Highway where crews had set up a command post.

Kretzschmar appeared to be unhurt and in good health upon first inspection, Hallock said.


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