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Missing hiker rescued 10 days after getting lost in California mountains

Lukas McClish was found after witnesses reported hearing someone yelling for help in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
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Posted at 5:24 PM, Jun 24, 2024

A 34-year-old who was lost for 10 days in California's Santa Cruz Mountains is finally home with his family.

Lukas McClish had last been seen on the morning of June 11 when he set out for a hike from his Boulder Creek-area home, Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said. Only expecting to be gone for three hours, McClish told ABC7 he lost his way due to wildfires having wiped out certain landmarks. He was declared missing six days later when he didn't show for a Father's Day dinner, ABC7 reported.

Around 3 p.m. on June 20, officials said multiple witnesses reported hearing a person yelling for help in the Foreman Creek area off Big Basin Highway. State Parks, Cal Fire and Boulder Creek Fire Department then confirmed the person was McClish.

The sheriff's office used several drones to determine the missing hiker's exact location, while park rangers arrived first to the scene. Fire crews helped bring McClish to safety, where was reunited with his family.

"Thank you to each agency and our dispatch for helping relay all of the information to necessary departments. This truly was a team effort with the best outcome we could have hoped for," the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said.

Officials look into the forest.
Officials look into the forest.

McClish had no major injuries at the time of his rescue. He told KSBW he survived by making sure to drink a gallon of water daily out of his boot, which he filled from waterfalls and creeks. He also said he ate wild berries and slept on a bed of wet leaves, all while being followed by a mountain lion for much of his journey. It kept its distance though, which McClish took to be a sign of "just somebody watching over me," the outlet reported.