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Review: Rescued Hiker Describes Hallucinations, Animal Attack, Eating Rocks

Originally posted by Paige Austin (Editor) , May 07, 2013 at 01:38 PM

An 18-year-old woman who spent four days lost in Trabuco Canyon said Monday that she recalled little about the ordeal and hallucinated much of the time.

"I thought I was in a big dream," Kyndall Jack said, sitting in a wheelchair following her discharge from UC Irvine Medical Center, where she had been recuperating since her rescue Thursday.

"The last thing I remember is fighting off the animal," Jack said, adding she couldn't tell what sort of animal had attacked her and her friend, who was rescued the night day before she was found.

After that, Jack began fading in and out of consciousness, she said.

The Costa Mesa teen recalled eating "dirt and rocks" and trying to drink water from a straw, which turned out to be a tree branch.

"Oh, and I was getting eaten by a python," Jack said, chuckling at the bizarre hallucination. "I saw animals, but they ended up being branches."

When she reconnected with 19-year-old Nicholas Cendoya, who was rescued Wednesday night, she said the two tried to figure out some of the details of their ordeal.

"We tried to figure out what was happening," she said. "But we just told each other we were in different dreams."

As for Jack's rescue on a cliffside, she just recalled "scooting down a cliff."

Jack sustained cuts and bruises on her limbs and what she described as frostbite on one hand. She showed reporters how difficult it was to move her fingers on the affected hand, which she said would take a few more weeks to heal.

The two brought a few bottles of water on their hike but no other supplies. Jack cautioned others to be more prepared than they were.

"Bring lots of water," she said, adding the duo also wished they had taken a flashlight with them.

"Just stay on the trail," Jack said. "We didn't stay on the trail and that's how we got lost."

When a lighter they had with them fizzled, they were in darkness, she said.

"It was like our first or second time hanging out," Jack said, adding, "Me and Nick are just friends."

She did not recall how the two got separated.

Jack said she had only been hiking a couple of times before.

"We wanted to touch the clouds. That's why we went up there," Jack said. "We just wanted to get to the top and we finally realized it was too dark to get to the top."

When they dialed 911 for help, "I started getting an anxiety attack and threw up," Jack said. "I just went in and out of consciousness after the 911 call."

In the hallucinatory state, Jack recalled people calling out her name, prompting her to respond, "Shut up, I'm running out of air ... I just thought it was a big joke."

Jack hoped she would soon meet with her rescuers so she could thank them in person.

A reserve sheriff's deputy who suffered head, neck and chest injuries while trying to rescue Jack has been moved out of intensive care and been upgraded to fair condition, said Gail Krause of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

"He is in good spirits and we anticipate he will be released from the hospital this week," Krause said.

Cendoya was previously released from Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.

- City News Service

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