Overdue hiker, dog rescued after going missing in Los Padres National Forest

Welch had dehydration and heat exhaustion

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - (Update Tuesday 2:00 p.m.) - Wesley Welch and overdue hiker was rescued Tuesday by helicopter. His dog was also located safe and helped out of the wilderness by Search and Rescue crews.

They were located in a remote area known as Fish Camp. Search teams found a trail register that was signed by Welch, which greatly reduced the search area and ultimately led to him being found.

Search teams stayed overnight in the wilderness and some needed to be deployed at certain areas of the trail by a helicopter due to the terrain.

Welch was located at around 11:20 a.m. at Fish Camp and lifted out by helicopter. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion and dehydration. He covered about 38 of the 40 miles of his planned trip. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said extreme heat may have been a contributing factor in the incident.

Welch's dog, Davie, was in good health and walked out of the area with the search team. He will be checked by a veterinarian and then reunited with his family. 35 volunteer Search and Rescue personnel were assisted by agencies throughout the state.

The Incident Commander credited Welch for assisting with his own rescue by providing family with his route and utilizing the trail registers posted along his route which helped crews narrow down the search. 

The sheriff's office wants to remind people that even the most experienced hiker can get stuck due to unplanned weather changes, dangerous animals or other hazards. Hiking safety tips can be found on the Santa Barbara Search and Rescue webpage.

Wesley Welch, a Santa Barbara hiker who was overdue while hiking in the Los Padres National Forest this past weekend, has been located safe.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said Welch was located Tuesday. At 11:30 a.m. Search and Rescue crews were coordinating his rescue from the wilderness with the help of helicopters.

Welch and his dog missed their scheduled return time by more than 24 hours. He was completing a multi-day, 40-mile hike in the Sisquoc Canyon area of the Los Padres National Forest and San Rafael Wilderness early Friday morning. Welch was expected to return Sunday night.

A Facebook post by the Los Padres Forest Association alerted the public that Welch was missing. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Welch and his dog were missing. 

Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue teams found his vehicle at the Manzana Trailhead. Search teams spent Monday night in the wilderness and resumed the search at first light. 

Details about where he was found is unclear at this time. The condition of his dog is not immediately known by rescuers. 


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