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2 Lost Hikers Use Cellular Phones to Summon Help

February 19, 2001|CAITLIN LIU | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two hikers lost overnight in the Santa Monica Mountains were rescued Sunday morning after calling sheriff's deputies on their cell phones, authorities said.

Alex Walters and Mark Hawkins called authorities about 7:40 p.m. Saturday to report they couldn't find their way out of the hiking trails near Kanan Dume Road and the entrance to Newton Canyon Road, said Sgt. Steve Smith of the Lost Hills-Malibu station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

During several calls, a sheriff's rescue squad determined the hikers' location and then guided them through the darkness by beaming a flashlight at them, Smith said.

"The rescuers would say, 'Do you see a flashlight?' and [the hikers] would say, 'Yeah,' and go to the left or right," Smith said.

A helicopter airlifted the uninjured men out about 7:50 a.m. Sunday.

Because of their growing popularity, cell phones are playing an increasingly important role in rescue efforts, Smith said, adding they were instrumental in two other recent rescues involving missing hikers in the Lost Hills-Malibu area.

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