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Rescued Hiker Describes Hallucinations, Animal Attack, Eating Rocks

An 18-year-old woman rescued from Trabuco Canyon recounts the harrowing ordeal that nearly killed her and a friend. Kyndall Jack says she hopes to thank her rescuers in person.

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

Summum Bonum May 02, 2013 at 03:47 AM
Hello, don't we still live in US of A where people are innocent until proven guilty? These are only charges, we'll have to wait for the trial to see whether the charges will stick. Even if they do, it's a whole other matter to show that he was under the influence when he went missing. And even if he was, so what, he called out to Jesus and Jesus answered. He is the ultimate judge and He oversaw Nicholas' case before Him and granted him another chance at life. Who are we to intervene? These people were missing for days and the car was left abandoned for at least one night. Don't you think there's some chance that these allegedly found drugs were planted by someone, maybe by the OC Sheriff trying to recover the future costs of the search and rescue efforts.
Michael Butler May 02, 2013 at 04:15 AM
LOL! Summum Bonum...you're kidding right? You've taken an unnatural interest in defending these two, i think you're closer than you let on, but regardless, I think the cops and the DA wouldn't go to the trouble of filing a felony charge if these kids were on the up and up. This is payback in a sense, you cause them trouble, they return the favor, this is how the "just us" system works in reality, not some fairy tale where the scales of justice are blind. Yeah, there's a presumption of innocence in this country, but it's going to cost you to prove it when you piss them off, and that's by design...you versus the virtually unlimited resources of the state. It's best to cut the losses and plead out, which I guess is what will happen here.
AnastaciaPatty May 02, 2013 at 05:00 AM
HAHAHAHAHAHA!! Now I'm convinced more than ever that Summum is one of the family members, if not Nick or Kyndall themself!!! Seriously!?!! OC Sheriff plants drugs??? Yea....cuz that was on the top of their priority list when these 2 went missing, before drugs were ever suspected!! Now who is playing the blame game...and sucks at it?!?!???!!!!!!
Peter Schelden May 02, 2013 at 06:02 AM
Very interesting development. Police originally said nothing unusual was found in Cendoya's vehicle. Curious how the story changed... http://missionviejo.patch.com/articles/rescued-hiker-charged-with-drug-possession
Summum Bonum May 04, 2013 at 05:43 AM
Police said nothing publicly, but word was out "on the street" that something had been found though I noticed that not even the press was aware of this. I overheard a semi-professional search and rescue team leader who seemed to have inside knowledge (maybe he was an off-duty law enforcement person) make mention of drug items in his briefing to his team Wednesday morning near where Nick's car was found, though he was not very specific as to what exactly had been found.

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