Crime - Sacto 911

CHP helicopter crew performs night rescue of lost hikers and their injured dog

Two Sacramento-area men had to rescue their dog and then, in turn, were rescued by a California Highway Patrol helicopter crew.

The chopper was crewed by two officers, pilot Bryan Souza and paramedic Kevin Neeley. They lifted off from Auburn Airport about 9 p.m. Sunday, when they got word that hikers were lost in the area of Placer County’s Salmon Lakes trail.

The crew, using night-vision goggles and a night-vision camera, quickly found the lost hikers, Lenny Sciortino, 64, of Sacramento and Dennis Marin, 63, of Roseville. One of the men was lying on a granite boulder and, when he saw the helicopter, jumped to his feet and began waving.

Using a loudspeaker, the crew verified that they were the men who had used a cellphone to call for help. The helicopter landed on a boulder, allowing the men to board, and took them to the Blue Canyon Airport, where they were helped by a Placer County Sheriff’s deputy.

The men explained that they had been hiking with their dog, Buster, when the animal was spooked and ran off-trail. They chased Buster, and when they found him he had lame hind legs.

They carried Buster for 2 1/2 hours. Hopelessly lost and with nightfall approaching, they stopped, built a fire and called 911. That brought the CHP helicopter crew.

“These hikers did everything right,” a CHP news release stated. “They knew they were lost, stopped and found a suitable location to build a fire. Thankfully, they had cellphone and a good signal and were able to call 911.”

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews