Hiker rescued after fall into icy water

Dec. 21, 2012 at 4:38 PM

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Rescue crews reached a stranded and injured hiker in California's Angeles National Forest after he slid down an ice-covered mountain into a stream.

Leiland Merritt, 23, of Pasadena, Calif., and a friend were hiking Thursday when Merritt lost his footing on a trail and slid 200 feet downhill on ice into the water. He sustained minor bruises and injuries, and after the friend walked a more than 1 mile to get help, Merritt was rescued by the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue and Montrose Search and Rescue teams, KCAL-TV, Los Angeles, reported Friday.

It took 3 hours for the crews to locate him, and rescuers said Merritt, with wet clothes and little food, could have perished in nighttime temperatures.

Temperatures Thursday night dropped into the 30s.

"If we hadn't found him, I don't know if he would have survived the night due to the cold," said Doug Cramoline of Montrose Search and Rescue.

Merritt was rescued at about 8 p.m. Thursday and walked out of the forest on his own, KCAL-TV said.

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