Little miracles saved stranded Mount Shasta hiker's life

The California Highway Patrol Northern Air Operations team rescued a 22-year-old man from Pennsylvania Wednesday who was stranded near the top of Mount Shasta.

CHP Northern Air Ops located in Redding is the closest air rescue to Mount Shasta.

On Wednesday morning, they were called in by the Siskiyou County Sheriff to help rescue a stranded hiker.

The hiker tried to call for help when he lost his way on the way down, but was unsuccessful. With a stroke of luck, he was able to get a text message through to his family who called law enforcement for him.

When the CHP helicopter first arrived, it couldn't help.

"Winds were well in excess to 50 knots," said CHP Pilot Brian Henderson. "That's far too strong to get anywhere near the top to make a rescue."

The hiker was at an elevation of 13, 842 feet.

"The helicopters we operate, they are built for altitude," Henderson said. "They are fantastic at operating in high altitudes, but even they have their limitations."

Then luck struck once again, a nearby hiking guide was able to locate the hiker and assist him, but by this time the hiker was struggling to stay conscious.

"He was on the later ends of hypothermia and it was settling in," said Henderson. "He couldn't feel most of his body and he was struggling mentally and physically."

Some believe luck comes in threes. The CHP Pilots said this doesn't happen often, but the wind let up. Two hours after arriving, they were able to get in and rescue the hiker.

Rescues this difficult aren't too common. Henderson estimates around three times a year.

However, less difficult rescues are a regular thing.

"Especially this time of year," said Henderson. "It's climbing season. Between May and early July there are a lot of climbers up there. These couple months, I'd say we get calls several times a week for assistance up there."

The hiker was released from Mercy Mount Shasta Thursday and is expected to be okay.

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