NORTHWEST GLENDALE — A man in his 60s, wounded after falling off a path in Brand Park on Tuesday night, was aided by fellow hikers before being rescued by helicopter, officials said.
The hiker, whose name was not released, was walking alone on the Enriques Trail about 7 p.m. when he fell just south of the Verdugo Towers, Glendale Police Sgt. Steve Robertson said. He sustained cuts throughout his body, including a serious cut to his head.
A Glendale police helicopter and officers spotted four people helping the hiker trek down the mountain, police said. The hiker's wounds were covered with bloodied makeshift bandages, police said.
As vehicle access was limited due to the rough terrain, the helicopter airlifted two Glendale firefighters to the mountain to treat the man. The hiker, after being dropped off at the park's baseball field, was taken to Glendale Adventist Medical Center to be treated, fire officials said.
"We want everybody to get out and hike and use our beautiful parks, but at the same time we need them to be prepared," Glendale Fire Capt. Vincent Rifino said.
As temperatures rise, police and fire officials said they often respond to calls from hikers stranded on the mountainous trails.
Glendale police help save six to 10 hikers per year along the foothills, Robertson said, adding that helicopter pilots train with firefighters on working together during mountain rescues.
The Fire Department saw the number of mountain rescues double from four to eight last year, which officials attributed to out-of-town hikers who fail to properly gauge the difficulty of the trail. Rifino said the reasons people get stranded vary. Some are injured by the mountain's unstable terrain, become overwhelmed by warm temperatures, don't have enough water, weren't in good physical condition or began hiking late in the day, Rifino said. When these happen in combination, he said, the real trouble begins.
"All of these items somehow wind up for a perfect storm for an unfortunate start to a nice day," he said.
Many hikers also don't dress appropriately for weather conditions.
Some rescued hikers have veered off the trails, getting lost or exhausted.
And while a hiker's well-being is a concern for firefighters, the Fire Department has also advised residents to be aware of their pet's health.
In last two weeks, three dogs have been overwhelmed by heat. One other dog died following a hike in the mountains, Rifino said.