Update: Rich Deleon, an Altadena Search and Rescue member who was on the scene, said the teens were in an area that was clearly closed to hikers.
The group entered the area on the fire road west of Millard Campground, passing signs stating that the area was closed. At that point they began climbing up fire break that was cut by the Forest Service during the Station Fire, climbing higher and steeper until they got stuck.
Deleon said he is pretty sure the hikers were ticketed by the Forest Service after the hike.
He added that the teens rescued by the ropes seemed pretty unconcerned about the entire experience.
"To us and other people it seemed like they were kind of blasé about the predicament like we were coming to get them and it was no big deal," Deleon said.
The hikers did at least thank the rescuers afterward, he noted, but said he hopes they are more careful in the future and stay out of closed areas.
"Hopefully they learned their lesson," Deleon said.
Original: Three South Pas teens—one a 19-year-old woman, who was trapped on a cliff with a 100-foot drop to Millard Canyon—were rescued Sunday around 12:30 p.m. after going on a hike earlier that day, reports Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD).
"The young woman was very scared and nearly let go of the cliff to jump into the arms of ESD Paramedic Deputy Ricky Hernandez as soon as he was close enough to reach out to her," said Sheriff's SEB Sergeant Tom Giandomenico, Crew Chief of the rescue, in a press release Sunday.
"He motioned to her to wait, and was able to attach the safety harness before we hoisted her up into the rescue helicopter. If she had let go before we were ready, she would not have survived the fall."
The group of friends were first noticed around noon by a U.S. Forestry Recreation Technician working in the Angeles National Forest, who then notified rescuers.
Upon arrival, a deputy paramedic, with LASD Air-5 Rescue pilots and Emergency Services Detail, was lowered from a helicopter via hoist as it hovered hundreds of feet above Millard Canyon to rescue the 19-year-old woman. She was hoisted up into the helicopter by deputies and flown uninjured to Farnsworth Park, Altadena.
Meanwhile, the two other people were rescued by ground rescuers.
The Sheriff's Altadena Search and Rescue Team, assisted by Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters from Station 82, used rope lines nearby to assist the 17-year old male and 18-year old female day hikers who were trapped 40 feet above the canyon bottom. It was unsafe for the hikers to climb down and the dirt was too loose above them to climb up, reported LASD.
Deputies and firefighters set up a rope system and provided helmets to the hikers.
Altadena Search and Rescue team reserve deputies then lowered the two people to safety on the canyon floor. They both hiked out of the canyon uninjured with the deputies.
The three rescued teens were reunited with a fourth member of their hiking group, an 18-year old man, who had been able to hike out on his own. All are residents of South Pasadena. The day hikers were all lightly dressed and did not have provisions.
The cliff above Millard canyon is just west of Eaton Canyon in Altadena.
The rescue was videotaped by deputies, who were wearing helmet cameras, according to reports. Video of the air rescue will be available at www.lasd.org later.
“Always be prepared when you go backcountry hiking and don’t overestimate your abilities," noted Sgt. Tom Giandomenico. "Always tell people where you are going and don’t count on your cell phone to work in nature.”
The Air-5 Rescue helicopter crew and the eight Search and Rescue teams of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department average about 350 search and rescue missions every year, making it one of the most active counties for search and rescue missions in the nation.