Woman dies while hiking with friends near Altadena

A hiker crosses a stream along the Sam Merrill Trail, where a 69-year-old woman died Sunday while hiking.
(Stefano Paltera / For The Times)

A 69-year-old woman from Huntington Beach died Sunday while hiking on a trail in the Angeles National Forest near Altadena, authorities said.

The woman, identified as Margaret Cihocki, was hiking with friends on the Sam Merrill Trail at about 12:30 p.m. when her heart stopped beating and she stopped breathing, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Witnesses tried to revive Cihocki by performing CPR. About an hour elapsed before emergency responders reached her nearly 2 miles up the trail, according to the statement from Sheriff’s Department officials.

She was pronounced dead on the trail, which was briefly closed during the incident.


A Sheriff’s Department search-and-rescue team airlifted Cihocki to L.A. County-USC Medical Center, where the coroner’s office took possession of the body, officials said..

The cause of her death is under investigation, according to the Sheriff’s Department.


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