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SBSD - Headquarters
Monday August 29th, 2022 :: 04:23 p.m. PDT


Hoist Rescue of 17-Year-Old Hiker Conducted at Big Falls

DATE/TIME: August 29, 2022/ 10:35 a.m.

INCIDENT: Rescue Operation

LOCATION: Big Falls, Forest Falls

VICTIM(S): Confidential, 17-year-old Female Resident of Highland

SUMMARY: On August 29, 2022, a 17-year-old female was hiking in the area of Big Falls with a friend. She climbed up the side of the waterfall, slipped, and fell approximately 15 feet. During the fall, she hit her head. The victim's friend called 911 and San Bernardino County Fire was notified. 

Firefighters from Station 99 were dispatched, and a rescue helicopter was requested. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Rescue Helicopter, Air Rescue 306, was assigned to the call. AR306 arrived at the scene and could see the victim down at the bottom of the waterfall. As AR306 prepared for a hoist rescue, firefighters arrived by ground and started treating the victim. AR306 flew into the narrow canyon and lowered Fire Captain Leidner approximately 125 feet down to the base of the waterfall. A rescue litter was lowered down and Leidner, along with the other firefighters, placed the victim into the litter. The victim was hoisted into the helicopter followed by Leidner. AR306 flew the victim to Loma Linda Hospital to be treated for her injuries. 

The victim is not the first fall victim to injure themselves at Big Falls. There have been several injuries and deaths this year at the falls. The Sheriff’s Department is concerned for everyone’s safety and would like to remind potential hikers to Big Falls not to climb the waterfall. Climbing the waterfall is extremely dangerous and being hoist rescued by helicopter is hazardous in and of itself.   

AR306 was crewed by: 
Pilot: Corporal Paul Kowalski 
Crew Chief: Deputy Tommy Dickey
Rescue Medic: Fire Captain Scott Leidner
Rescue Medic: Reserve Deputy Steve Miller

Refer: Corporal P. Kowalski

Station: Aviation/ Emergency Operations Division

Phone No. (909) 252-4100

Case No. 042200619

SHANNON D. DICUS, Sheriff-Coroner
San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department

SBSD - Headquarters
655 E 3rd St
San Bernardino, CA 92408

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 909-387-3700

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