In one of the busiest Labor Day Weekends in recent memory, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Malibu Search and Rescue (MSAR) Team and the LA County Lifeguards who work to help keep the community and visitors safe all reported a stressful and active weekend filled with lifesaving rescues and rescue attempts.

MSAR on Monday responded to a series of harrowing rescue calls at the height of the afternoon heat when temperatures reached above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. A group of hikers in distress who ran out of water called 9-1-1.MSAR was dispatched between Edison Road and Newton Canyon off Kanan Road. Helicopter crews were able to pluck one hiker out immediately.  At the same time, other hikers performed CPR on a victim in their group while awaiting rescuers. 

Hiker

Malibu Search and Rescue Team members, alongside LA County Fire, McCormick Ambulance and LASD Aero Bureau, work to save eight hikers on Monday, while another could not be revived.

“My partner and I grabbed our medical equipment, flew in and landed on an outcropping on the side of a cliff overlooking Zuma Canyon,” reported David Katz, MSAR team leader. The rescuers then hiked down a canyon to reach the victim and other stranded hikers. MSAR deployed a defibrillator, but, “unfortunately, that person had already passed.” 

The victim is described as a 64-year-old male from Thousand Oaks.  

At the same time, MSAR received calls of other hikers in different locations nearby in precarious cliffside spots needing immediate assistance. It appeared the hikers were part of an informal Meet Up group but didn’t necessarily know one another. A 67-year-old female, a 61-year-old male and one other unidentified person were airlifted out from various locations in close proximity.

Four rescuers and the deceased victim were flown out by helicopter as well.  

Katz stressed the importance of having enough water while hiking.  

“Everyone had run out of water. All four rescuers gave our water to the victims, which in turn left us with no water,” he described. “The temperatures were excessive where there was no shade [on the] cliffside, sun beating straight down on us. So we ended up having to have one of the helicopters bring back fluids for the rescuers.”

LACo lifeguards reported 373,450 people crowded Malibu beaches from Friday, Aug. 30, though Monday, Sept. 2. Lifeguards made 130 rescues over the weekend. One hundred-seventy five people were treated for major and minor medical incidents. There were no fatalities. 

Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station reported a busy weekend as well. Their employees stationed at the Chili Cook-Off over the weekend broke up a couple of scuffles between teenage groups although no arrests were made. Lost Hills also responded to a fatal motorcycle accident in Agoura Hills and a high-profile car wreck involving comedian Kevin Hart. The actor/comedian suffered a major back injury when the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda he was a passenger in rolled over on Mulholland Highway in Calabasas. Two others in the car had to be extricated from the vehicle that crashed through a fence and rolled 30 feet down an embankment near Cold Canyon. A friend was driving the car. Hart’s injuries are said to be serious. Police reported no alcohol or drugs appear to be involved. 

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