Trabuco Canyon Rescue Cost County $160,000

You asked and the County of Orange answered: this cost to search for and pluck two young adults out of rugged Trabuco Canyon terrain last month was more than $160,000.

"Why do I have to pay for someone's negligence?" reacted county Supervisor Todd Spitzer of the figures released Tuesday by the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which headed up the multi-day, multi-agency rescue operation.

According to City News Service, Spitzer has launched an investigation into whether Costa Mesa teens Kyndall Jack and Nicolas Cendoya should be held liable. The sheriff's department previously indicated they would not be.

"We want government services when accidents happen," Spitzer told the news service. "We don't want people to pay for government services when 'on purposes' happen."

Jack, 18, and Cendoya, 19, went for a day hike in the popular Cleveland National Forest area on Easter Sunday. But they became lost and separated that night after going through their one water bottle and wearing only light clothing. Each was separately found after long days and nights in the dense brush.

The $160,378 price tag represents the cost of services from six agencies. Included are: $32,000 from the sheriff's department for 728 hours of manhours and helicopter support; $55,000 from the Orange County Fire Authority, which also deployed multiple helicopters; $58,000 from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department; and about $15,000 combined from Orange County Parks, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the California Emergency Management Agency.

Not included are 1,900 hours of unpaid reserve and volunteer work no one was charged for.

With out without the freebies, Spitzer tells City News the county estimates are low.

They aren't to Cendoya, who reportedly reacted with, "That's insane."

He added he doesn't want his parents burdened with the charges, explaining the incident as "one of those one-in-a-billion chances where you never know what could go wrong. We were that 1 percent."

Let's hear it for the 1 percenters!

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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