Originally posted at 1:08 p.m. June 26, 2014. Edited with new details.
A volunteer who suffered spinal injuries while trying to rescue a woman who got lost while hiking in Trabuco Canyon with a friend who later admitted to drug possession filed a lawsuit against the woman, his attorney said today.
Nick Papageorge was injured in April 2013 while searching for then-18-year-old Kyndall Jack, who went missing along with friend Nic Cendoya while hiking in the Cleveland National Forest. The pair set out on their hike March 31, 2013. Cendoya was found on April 3, while Jack was rescued the next morning.
Cendoya later pleaded guilty to possessing 497 milligrams of methamphetamine that was found in his car in a parking lot.
According to his lawsuit, which was filed June 16, Jack and Cendoya "headed out unprepared and unqualified to a remote and dangerous mountain area with the intent to take hallucinogenic drugs, knowing the likelihood of becoming disoriented, lost and requiring the subject rescue."
Papageorge's' attorney, Eric Dubin, said his client fell 110 feet down a cliff while searching for Jack, breaking his spine. He said earlier that Papageorge's had titanium screws put in his back.
The lawsuit contends that Jack created the emergency situation through her own negligence.
"Her willful conduct of placing herself in a recklessly dangerous situation caused the subject injury and devastation to plaintiff," according to the Orange County Superior Court lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, but Dubin said Papageorge's has incurred more than $500,000 in medical injuries.
"We're hopeful that she has insurance that's applicable and that this can be easily resolved" before going to trial, Dubin told City News Service.
Dubin would not address why Cendoya was not also named in the lawsuit.
Jack could not be reached for comment. Days after her rescue, she told reporters she hallucinated much of the time she was lost.
She recalled eating "dirt and rocks" and trying to drink water from a straw, which turned out to be a tree branch.
"Oh, and I was getting eaten by a python," Jack said, chuckling at the bizarre hallucination. "I saw animals, but they ended up being branches."
--City News Service