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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Tuesday May 16th, 2023 :: 06:03 p.m. PDT


Upper Ojai Search and Rescue (SAR) Team Members Locate 10 Missing Hikers

Nature of Incident: Upper Ojai Search and Rescue (SAR) Team Members Locate 10 Missing Hikers
Report Number: 23-60351
Location: Santa Paula Canyon, Los Padres National Forest, CA
Date & Time: 05/12/2023 @ 8:17 P.M.
Unit(s) Responsible: Upper Ojai Search and Rescue (SAR) Team, West County Patrol Services
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent

City of Residence

(P) 10 male and female hikers Various Residences  
On May 12, 2023, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Upper Ojai Search and Rescue (SAR) Team located and came to the aid of 10 missing hikers near the “Last Chance” area of the Santa Paula Canyon.
On the above date, at approximately 8:00 P.M., Ventura County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a text message from a group of ten hikers who were unable to find their way back from the Santa Paula Canyon.  These hikers were able to contact Ventura County Sheriff’s Dispatch through the Apple Emergency SOS feature and provided valuable information such as a possible location and if immediate medical aid was needed.  Additionally, guardians for the 10 overdue hikers contacted Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputies near the trailhead to report the subjects as missing and possibly in need of assistance. 
At approximately 8:30 P.M., the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue (SAR) Team was activated and immediately responded to the Santa Paula Canyon Trailhead.  A total of 13 SAR members responded to locate the missing hikers. 
SAR team members hiked approximately 4 miles into the Santa Paula Canyon to locate the 10 missing hikers.  SAR team members were faced with low visibility, multiple stream crossings and trails that had been previously damaged from the heavy rains.
At approximately 11:15 P.M., SAR team members located the 10 missing hikers. Most of the hikers were not prepared for the hike and were provided with food, drinking water and lighting equipment as they were led out to the Santa Paula Canyon Trailhead.
At approximately 2:40 A.M., SAR team members returned to the Santa Paula Canyon Trailhead with the 10 missing hikers. The hikers were reunited with their guardians and fortunately did not require any medical aid. 
The Upper Ojai Search and Rescue (SAR) Team consists of approximately 28 volunteers skilled in search and rescue operations in mountain, canyon and urban settings.  The team volunteers on average 4000 hours per year on searches, rescues, training and public events.
For more information on the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue (SAR) Team, visit their website at Additionally, the team can be followed on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @ojaisar. 
Prepared by: Deputy Mackenzie Spears  
News Release Date: 05/16/2023  
Media Follow-Up Contact: [email protected]
Approved by: Captain Downard

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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