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Firefighters Rescue Stranded Hikers

October 02, 1994

MODJESKA CANYON — Orange County firefighters dropped from a helicopter and scaled a hillside to rescue two Tustin hikers who strayed from the trail Saturday and ended up clinging to the steep, slippery shale shouting for help.

"They were stuck there on the side of the hill," said Danielle Parker, 23, who spotted the couple around 2:30 p.m. while walking through the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary with her fiance, his two boys and her son.

"The man had taken off his shirt and was waving it," she said. "The girl seemed like she had her feet wedged in as well as she could. They were shouting 'Help. We need help. We're stuck.' "

Parker alerted a park employee, who called firefighters. At the time, the firefighters happened to be practicing helicopter rescue techniques two miles down the street.

"We moseyed on up there and got them down," said Battalion Chief Gene Begnell. "They were both lying flat against the shale. It's very difficult to climb in and once you start sliding, you could go all the way to the bottom."

Begnell said the couple, Sally Cervantes, 23, and Eduardo Isaac Perez, 23--both wearing just tennis shoes and shorts--had been hiking and thought they could make it up the hill and "got to a spot and realized they couldn't. They were up there for a while before anyone spotted them."

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