Lost hiker released from hospital: 'We weren't meant to die'

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com  |  April 8, 2013 at 9:50 AM
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Nicholas Cendoya, one of the two hikers rescued last week after five days lost in a Southern California canyon, was released from the hospital Sunday.

Cendoya, 19, and his friend Kyndall Jack, 18, disappeared Easter in Trabuco Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains. He was found disoriented, barefoot and shirtless on Wednesday and taken to Mission Viejo hospital for treatment. She was rescued Thursday, shoeless and clinging to a ledge.

"We weren't meant to die," Cendoya said at a press conference from the hospital. "We just wanted to go on an Easter adventure."

Cendoya said he and Jack tried to call for help when they got lost, but their cellphone battery died. They tried to find their way down the mountain but fell and were separated. He recounted eating plants and hallucinating about being stalked by tigers.

"I just wanted to see Kyndall more than anything. Just to see her face-to-face just so I know that she's OK," he said.

"The whole time I was lost, I felt the presence of Jesus and my friend, Carlos, who died last year of cancer," Cendoya said in a statement released by the hospital. "I felt they were both with me, inspiring me to stay alive."

Doctors said Cendoya showed signs of blunt-force trauma to his lung from the fall, resulting in amnesia and other injuries.

Jack is being treated at University of California-Irvine Medical center and is in stable condition.

"She was very dirty, up on a small little ledge, in the fetal position holding on," L.A. County Sheriff's Reserve Deputy Fred Wenzel told KABC-TV. "She asked me what year it was. She thought it was the year 2030. She was very confused."

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