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19 Jul 2024 5:30
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  •   Home > News > International

    California hiker found after 10 days survived by collecting water in his shoe

    The 34-year-old hiker has been found after 10 days in the Northern California mountains, where he survived by collecting water in his shoe.

    A hiker missing for 10 days in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California has been found safe, having survived by collecting water in his shoe.

    Lukas McClish, 34, left the rural community of Boulder Creek for what was supposed to be a three-hour hike on June 11.

    He was reported missing on June 16, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said.

    Witnesses heard someone yelling for help on Thursday and searchers were able to locate Mr McClish with drones in the Big Basin Redwoods State Park, more than 11 kilometres from Boulder Creek.

    Writing on X, firefighters noted that Mr McClish's location was initially "hard to establish".

    "We are grateful he's home," they said.

    A dirt-covered Mr McClish embraced family members in an emotional reunion. 

    He was not injured during the 10 days and was able to collect and drink water during the ordeal. 

    In an interview with a local news outlet, the hiker said he went out with "just a pair of pants, and my pair of hiking shoes, and a hat".

    "I had a flashlight, and a pair of folding scissors, like a Leatherman tool. And that was about it," he said.

    He collected the water from a waterfall using his boot.

    "I just made sure I drank a gallon of water every day, but then after, getting close to the end of it, my body needed food and some kind of sustenance," he said.

    While the 10-day hike left him "tired and a little sore", Mr McClish described it as "an awesome experience".

    "I did enough hiking for probably the whole rest of the year," he said.

    He told KGO-TV he got lost because he couldn't recognise some landmarks destroyed by fires.

    Mr McClish added he was moved to see all of the searchers who looked for him.

    "It was just really humbling," he said.

    Boulder Creek is about 109km south of San Francisco.


    © 2024 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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