Hikers won't be billed for rescue

A five-day search to find two missing Costa Mesa hikers cost more than $160,000, officials said Tuesday.

Nicolas Cendoya, 19, and Kyndall Jack, 18, called authorities about 8 p.m. Easter Sunday from Trabuco Canyon, saying they were lost but thought they were a mile from their car.

The cell phone died soon after.

The search-and-rescue effort to find the Costa Mesa High School alumni took 1,907 hours, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Two other sheriff's departments, the California Emergency Management Agency, the Orange County Fire Authority and Orange County Parks joined the search.

The cost accounts for helicopter services, salaries and supplies, according to a breakdown provided by OCSD.

The teens will not be billed for the cost because they are county residents, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Krause.

Hikers found Cendoya April 3 and alerted a group of firefighters training nearby. They hacked their way through dense brush to get to him.

A hiker heard Jack calling for help the next day. Rescuers repelled down a steep hillside to get to her. Both were taken to area hospitals and have since been released.

An Orange County reserve deputy who fell 60 feet during Jack's continues to recover at home, Krause said.

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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