By Susan A. Neufeld
Forest Falls, CA – On Saturday January 6, 2018, at approximately 6:00 a.m., Bethany Sloan, 32 year old resident of Redlands, CA, and a friend went on a day hike up Vivian Creek Trail and attempted to reach the San Gorgonio Summit. Some time during the hike, Sloan’s friend became tired and turned back. Sloan continued to hike and reached the summit around 1:00 p.m. When Sloan reached the summit and prepared to descent, a weather system set in which caused her to become disoriented. Sloan continued her descent and lost her way on the trail.
About 3:00 p.m., Sloan realized she was lost and activated her personal alert system (PAS). The PAS notified family members she was lost and needed assistance. Sloan’s family notified law enforcement and Deputy Franklin responded to the area. Franklin assessed the situation and immediately requested Yucaipa Search and Rescue personnel and Sheriff’s aviation.
Franklin coordinated the search for Sloan using Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel and Sheriff’s Aviation. SAR personnel searched the main trails and Sheriff’s 40K6, searched the area with Forward Looking Infrared (Flir) and Night Vision goggles. During the aerial search, the weather system worsened and prevented Sheriff’s Aviation from continuing the search. SAR members hiked throughout the night and into the morning without success.
On Sunday, January 7, at approximately 4:00 a.m., Franklin requested Sheriff’s Aviation respond back to the area and begin a search at first light. 40K5, responded to the area and continued the search of numerous mountain trails. At approximately 8:00 a.m. Sheriff’s AR306 was requested to respond to the location and insert SAR members to various locations. SAR members had a general location and requested 40K5 to search near the top of the waterfall and requested AR306 respond for a hoist rescue.
AR306 responded to the top of the waterfalls and located Sloan, on a small ledge overlooking the falls. Sloan was placed in a rescue harness and hoisted her about 70′ to AR306. Sloan was flown to the logging platform where she was released to. Sloan was not injured during the hike or rescue.