Crews rescue unconscious man found in hills above Brand Park

 A 70-year-old man was taken to a local hospital Wednesday morning after he passed out while hiking in the Verdugo Mountains, officials said.

The man, whose identity wasn’t released, was hiking with a woman about 9:22 a.m. when he became unconscious atop a mountain ridge behind Brand Park on the 1600 block of Mountain Street, officials said.

The woman began screaming for help, prompting a flurry of calls to Glendale police from other hikers concerned about her well being. Witnesses reported hearing her screams and seeing someone in a black hooded sweatshirt exit the mountain trails, Glendale Police Lt. Brian Cohen said.

“We had to establish that a crime wasn’t committed,” he said.

Seventeen police officers responded to the area and placed the park on lockdown, Cohen said, checking anyone leaving or entering the area.

After hiking up the trail, officers discovered that the screams were coming from a woman was asking for help for the distressed man.

When officers and a paramedic finally reached the mountain top, they found the woman holding the man who was too weak to trek down the hill, Cohen said.

A police helicopter carried the man from the hilltop to a nearby baseball field, where an ambulance was waiting.

The man was awake and alert when he was taken by ambulance to Glendale Adventist Medical Center, said Glendale Fire Battalion Chief Gregory Godfrey.

More than 50 mountain rescues have occurred in the Verdugo region, which includes Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale and nine other foothill cities, according to fire officials.

Last year, 56 rescues were logged for the region.

While the warmer temperatures on Wednesday enticed more hikers to hit local trails, officials said they should still make sure to come prepared.

Godfrey advised hikers to only take trails that they know they complete.

He urged residents to hike in pairs, and if they opt to take on a trail alone, should notify a friend or family member about their whereabouts.

Hikers should also always carry water and a cell phone, Godfrey added.
 -- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA

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