Five lost hikers were rescued Sunday by helicopter from the snowy Ventana Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest in Monterey County east of Big Sur, the Monterey County Sheriff's Office said.
The men, all about 20 years old, started an overnight hike in the snow on Friday on the Pine Ridge Trail from China Camp off of Tassajara Road in the eastern part of the forest, according to sheriff's Sgt. Mike Burns.
The hikers, all from Fresno, then became lost sometime on Saturday and ended up near the remote Cienega Camp off of the main trail, Burns said.
Two of the men ventured out to the Pine Ridge area, where they obtained a cell phone signal and called for a rescue at about 10 a.m. Sunday, Burns said.
The sheriff's office's search and rescue team got into action, borrowed a helicopter from the California Highway Patrol, then located and hoisted the five hikers out of the forest at about 6 p.m., Burns said.
The men, suffering from the cold temperatures but uninjured, later drove away from the area after returning to their vehicle, deputies said.
The hikers had started their trek without the proper equipment for the winter conditions in the forest, deputies said.
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