News Story


Rescue of Stranded Hikers
2/15/2012 3:50:00 AM


Nature of Incident:

Rescue of Stranded Hikers

Report Number:

RB #12-3522


Mutau Creek Trail, Los Padres National Forest, Ventura County

Date & Time:

2/14/12 @ 8:25 AM

Unit Responsible:

Aviation / Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit

(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (W)itnesses (D)ecedent

City of Residence


(V) Randy Thompson

(V) Susan Thompson                                                   

Oxnard, Ca

Ventura, Ca




On 2-14-12, at approximately 0815 hours, the Sheriff's Office received a phone call from two stranded hikers in the Los Padres National Forest.  Randy and Susan Thompson had left the Fillmore area on a backpacking trip two days earlier with the hopes of reaching Lockwood Valley.  During their trip, they encountered extreme weather conditions and snow.  The hike was difficult and much longer then they anticipated.  Eventually, they reached the area of Mutau Flats, but couldn't figure out which trail they were on.  They also knew they would miss the rendezvous destination and be late causing their family to worry.


Using a cell phone they brought on the trip, they called the Sheriff's Office for help.  Sgt. Underlin spoke with Susan over the phone.  Using his extensive knowledge of the backcountry, Sgt. Underlin was able to narrow down their approximate location.  Air Squad 9 and the Lockwood Valley resident deputies responded to the area to search for the missing pair.


After a short search, Randy and Susan were located on the Mutau Creek Trail.  Because of the weather and road closures they had an estimated 13 miles still to hike to reach the rendezvous point.  Air Squad 9 landed on the trail and loaded in both hikers and their dog.  Neither party was injured or required medical attention.  They were flown to a location in Lockwood Valley where they were safely driven out of the area.


The Sheriff's Office would like to remind those going out to enjoy the backcountry to plan accordingly.  The Thompson's were well prepared with food, water, clothing and a cell phone.  Had they not planned appropriately, their trip could have ended with serious consequences.  The Ventura County backcountry is beautiful in the winter, but weather can change rapidly.  Always layer your clothing and carry extra food and water in case you are caught in foul weather. 




Deputy Preparing Media Release:



Sr. Dep. Shane Matthews #3127

Media Release Date:

February 15, 2012

Follow-Up Contact:

Sr. Dep. Shane Matthews #3127  (805) 388-4212

Approved by:

Captain Dave Murray