Teens 'Convinced' They Were 'Going to Die' While They Were Lost in California Snowstorm for Days
Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty
A pair of teens feared death after getting lost in the California wilderness as wild winter weather blew across the region.
Cole White and Riley Ramirez, both 17, were located Friday morning in what the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office (SBCSO) described as "a remote section of the Pacific Crest Trail along Mission Creek" near San Gorgonio Mountain.
The pair began their hike on Feb. 26, but lost communication with their parents two days later "due to the severe weather conditions" impacting the region, according to Friday's news release.
"They've told us, 'We were already convinced we were going to die,' " Riley's father, Cesar Ramirez, told the Associated Press.
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Originally, the teens only planned to hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, beginning in Whitewater, Calif., last Sunday, according to the SBCSO.
The journey was supposed to be 10 days long, Cesar told the AP. He said the boys, who are passionate about hiking and aspire to join the military, were stocked up on food and were carrying key items such as snowshoes and a tent.
However, San Bernardino County sheriff Sgt. John Scalise said the boys were not prepared for the amount of snow that fell in the region during their hike, according to the AP.
"They knew there was weather. But I don't think they expected the amount," he added, per the nesw agency.
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Over the next few days, Riley and White "encountered four to five feet of snow drifts" that limited visibility and made it "difficult to stay on the trail," the SBCSO said.
The two stayed warm overnight by huddling together, according to the AP.
Cesar called the SBCSO for help after losing contact with Riley through a tracking app, per the report. The father said his son lost his jacket, and that the boys' tent broke during the ordeal.
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On Friday, a helicopter crew spotted the missing hikers while searching for the duo, the SBCSO said.
The crew landed a short distance away, and eventually flew the boys to the Morongo Basin Sheriff's Station, where they were given food, water and medical attention.
Riley and White both had minor cases of hypothermia, Scalise said, per the AP.