Corona, CA: Sheriff's Helicopter Crew Plucks Two Hikers - One Dehydrated - Off Mountain

Jorge Alfaro, 39, from Corona, and Charlotte Lasley, 48, from La Quinta, started walking at 6 a.m. Thursday. About 12 hours later they had ascended to about 7,000 feet elevation, and one of them was "in distress" due to dehydration.

A sheriff's helicopter crew hoisted two hikers off a steep mountainside near the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway upper station Thursday evening when one of them was "in distress" due to dehydration, sheriff's officials in Cabazon said.

Jorge Alfaro, 39, of Corona, and Charlotte Lasley, 48, of La Quinta, started walking from the Palm Springs Art Museum about 6 a.m. Thursday, Sgt. J. Burton of the sheriff's Cabazon Station said.

Alfaro and Lasley took about 12 hours to ascend a steep, shadeless path known as the Skyline Trail to about 7,000 feet elevation, according to Burton. Their goal was to reach the Upper Tram Station in Mt. San Jacinto State Park, but Alfaro was suffering from dehydration.

About 7:15 p.m., one of the hikers used a cell phone to call for help, and a sheriff's helicopter crew was readily available, sheriff's Capt. Ross Koepp said.

"They were able to do a hoist and get them off the mountain," Koepp said in a phone interview Friday morning.

The helicopter crew flew Alfaro and Lasley to a parking area below the Lower Tram Station, where an ambulance crew took Alfaro to Desert Regional Medical Center.

Lasley was not in need of medical treatment, Burton said.

"The Riverside County Sheriff's Department would like to remind hiking enthusiasts that adequate hydration, hiking in groups, and communication devices are all essential elements of a safe and successful hiking excursion," Burton said in a statement," and remember that extreme temperature changes occur in these mountainous areas."

Anyone with further information about the incident was urged to contact the Cabazon Sheriff's Station at (951) 922-7100 or at

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