A rock scrambler was injured when he fell Saturday afternoon in Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree Search and Rescue, Joshua Tree firefighters, and Morongo Basin Ambulance were called to the Hidden Valley area of the park about 1:30 p.m. to assist a man who injured himself after falling about 10 feet while rock scrambling. The man hit his head and injured his lower left leg in the fall. Once rescuers lowered him to the ground, he was able to walk out on his own. He was taken by MBA to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs.
Now in its 12th day, an intensive search for two hikers who went missing in Joshua Tree National Park has been scaled back. A park press release says Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 21, drove their car into the park at 6:45 a.m. July 27 and have not been seen or heard from since. Searchers from the park service, Sheriff’s Department, Joshua Tree Search and Rescue, the Bureau of Land Management, Border Patrol, Highway Patrol, and others, have searched on foot and from the air, and with search dogs, all to no avail. As of Monday, the search has been scaled back, but a special team made up of National Park investigators has arrived, as well as NPS drone specialists. Canine teams from JOSAR are also continuing the search when the temperatures will allow. The couple’s vehicle was found July 28 at the trailhead of the Maze Loop Trail. Park spokesman George Land noted the search for the missing hikers will not technically end until they are found; he said the park service will continue with regular training exercises that specifically address this particular incident. Anyone who might have been hiking or who stopped in the area, and saw a couple in their early twenties, or who has other pertinent information about the two, should call San Bernardino Dispatch at 909 383-5652.
One of the volunteers with Joshua Tree National Park Search and Rescue who has been out searching for the missing couple nearly every day with her search dog is a Pioneertown resident. Reporter David Haldane spoke with her and says she’s determined to see the search through…
Imagine that someone’s life depends on you and your dog. You’re out searching for them in the sweltering heat of the desert and time is of the essence. What goes through your mind, knowing that your actions could affect whether the effort ends in triumph or tragedy?
Alice Waltermire knows the feeling well; she’s been living it every day. The 52-year-old Pioneertown resident, working with two bloodhounds and a border collie named Montana, is among about 100 volunteers who have been searching for an Orange County couple lost in Joshua Tree National Park since July 28.
It’s exhausting, she says, and dangerous for both her and the dogs. But while each passing day makes a happy ending less likely, she’s determined to see it through.
The family needs closure, Waltermire says. Whether that means finding their loved ones healthy and alive, as everyone hopes, or otherwise, the important thing is to reach a conclusion.
And so, the search continues.