A 16-year-old hiker from Rancho Santa Margarita was rescued from Santiago Canyon on Wednesday after a couple of local agencies teamed up to save the boy.
The wilderness drama began shortly after 4 p.m., about 10 hours after the boy left from Dove Canyon and he realized he was in over his head. He made a 9-1-1 call to the Orange County Sheriff's Department after getting into an area with vegetation so deep he couldn't navigate his way to safety.
The OCSD helicopter found the boy in an area near the Blue Jay Campground, but found the area too harsh and uneven to land. The OCSD then called upon the Orange County Fire Authority at 4:40 p.m.
"He got into some thick brush and couldn't get out," said Capt. Steve Concialdi of the OCFA. "Luckily it was still light out. Duke (the sheriff helicopter) spotted him but couldn't land because it was so remote."
The OCFA's helicopter picked up the county's Urban Search and Rescue team from Mission Viejo and flew to the canyon.
Firefighter Robert Frick was lowered into the canyon at 5:23 p.m., where he put a harness around the boy and both were hoisted to the safety of the helicopter within six minutes.
The boy was reunited with his family in the Plano Trabuco Landing zone at 5:37 p.m.