Commentary: What did rescuing hikers really cost the taxpayers?

First off, I want preface my comments by saying how happy and thrilled I am that the two hikers were found (“A tremendous victory,” April 5).

There are too many daily tragedies for Kyndall Jack and Nicolas Cendoya’s possible deaths to have been added to the horrible and non-ending list.

But — and this a tremendously huge but — the Daily Pilot failed to mention, as was done in one of the Los Angeles Times articles, the tremendous cost to the taxpayer that was required to rescue these very, very inexperienced and novice hikers.

Many questions arise:

•Why did Nicholas Cendoya take a mobile phone that was almost out of battery life?

•Why didn’t Kyndall Jack have a fully charged mobile phone with her, also? Heck, this is 2013 — half the audience at a movie have mobile phones out before and ready to use and check the minute credits start rolling.

•How could anyone go hiking in a wild area with such incredibly poor choices in clothing?

•How can you take only one bottle of water? This is really silly. It’s 2013 — people carry water bottles to go pick up their mail at the mailbox.

Actually there are so many more.

Back to the cost for this rescue.

This is not the first of these kind of “rescues.” We have them with inexperienced swimmers at the beach, lost campers in the same situation — novice and ill equipped to be out in the wild — dare-devil rock and mountain climbers who need to be rescued from the side of the cliff or unfortunately fall to their death and the body must be recovered.

Again the list could go on and on.

At some point — and maybe I am ill informed about this and this is already in place — but I believe that the people being rescued need to be liable for some part of the cost, including the costs that went into finding, rescuing, airlifting and at the hospital.

This seems to be the only way that many of these novices who are out for adventure will possibly take the time to learn more about what they are getting themselves into. In today’s world the only thing that seems to get people’s attention is to hit them where it counts or hurts: their pocketbooks.

KEVIN CHARD lives in Irvine.