October 30, 2019
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif – On Saturday, October 26 about 9:05 p.m., Sergio Betancur (age 23 of Burbank) went hiking with friends in Joshua Tree National Park. The group decided to hike off trail through the large boulders which cover the area. Betancur climbed along a large rock formation and fell as he jumped from one large rock to another.
Betancur suffered a serious but non-life-threatening injury to his leg as a result of the fall. His friends hiked to the entrance of the park to obtain cell service and placed a call to 911. San Bernardino County Fire Department and Joshua Tree National Park Rangers received the call and rushed to the scene.
Betancur's friends hiked with the emergency personnel to the general location, however, it took several hours to locate him. Due to the inability to locate Betancur right away, combined with the injury he sustained, a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department patrol helicopter was requested to assist. Once Betancur was located by fire personnel, it was determined he would need to be hoisted out.
Sheriff’s patrol helicopter 40King3 arrived at the location and assessed the situation. Deputy Doug Brimmer acted as the pilot, Deputy Lauren Abernathy acted as the hoist operator, and Deputy Chris Mejia acted as the hoist rider during the rescue operation. The crew conducted this operation at night and utilized night vision equipment. Mejia was hoisted down to the rock and Betancur was secured into a rescue harness. Betancur was hoisted from the rock and transported via helicopter to a landing zone. Betancur was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.