News Story


Technical Search & Rescue at La Jolla Canyon
12/26/2015 9:12:00 AM


Nature of Incident:

Technical Search & Rescue at La Jolla Canyon

Report Number:



Ray Miller Trailhead, La Jolla Canyon, Point Mugu CA

Date & Time:

12/25/2015 @ 4:15 PM

Unit(s) Responsible:

Ventura County Sheriff's Aviation / Search & Rescue East Valley

Ventura County Fire Department / Urban Search & Rescue

California State Parks


(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent

City of Residence


Rangel, Victor

Lopez, Patricia















Ventura County Sheriff's Deputies, the Sheriff's Aviation Unit, and the Ventura County Fire Department responded to a call from California State Parks that a group of people were trapped on a mountainside in La Jolla Canyon near Point Mugu.


On December 25, 2015 at about 4:15 PM, California State Parks responded to the La Jolla Canyon area after receiving a report of lost hikers on the Ray Miller Trailhead. State Parks Rangers located the vehicle associated with the missing subjects and later determined they were trapped near the La Jolla waterfall. This area and trail is currently closed with many warning signs posted to advise hikers to stay away due to the unstable conditions. State Parks Rangers summoned the Ventura County Sheriff's Aviation Unit for assistance. Once on scene, the pilot and crew chief of the helicopter determined a hoist rescue from the helicopter was not safe due to high winds.


At approximately 1900 hours, the Ventura County Sheriff's Search & Rescue along with the Ventura County Fire Urban Search & Rescue were called out to assist. Working together, the Ventura County Fire USAR team and the Ventura County Sheriff's East Valley SAR Teams conducted a technical high angle rescue to safely evacuate the two adults and two children from the trailhead. None of the victims sustained any injuries from this incident.

At the conclusion of the rescue the two adults were interviewed and admitted to seeing the warning signs that were posted with the intention to keep people away from the hazardous area. They also admitted that they were not properly prepared for the conditions, they lacked water, proper clothing, and a flashlight. The California State Parks Rangers issued a citation to the hikers for unsafe recreational activity within a State Park. 


The Ventura County Sheriff's Office would like to remind day hikers of some simple steps to be better prepared when the unexpected happens. Carry extra water, food, matches, flashlight, and proper clothing. You may intend to only be out for a day hike, but if circumstances beyond your control take over you may find yourself out on the trail much later than planned. Always adhere to posted warning signs of potential dangers and closed areas.



Prepared by:

Sgt. Kevin Donoghue


News Release Date:



Media Follow-Up Contact:

Dep. Chris Dyer (805) 535-0270



Approved by:

Capt. Garo Kuredjian



Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime.  The caller may remain anonymous.  The call is not recorded.  Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).