Torrance man killed in suspect mountain biking accident in forest north of Altadena


ALTADENA >> A 49-year-old Torrance man reported missing while mountain biking in the Angeles National Forest north of Altadena was found dead from an apparent fall Saturday following a 13-hour search, authorities said.
The man’s name was not released Sunday pending notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said.
Search and rescue teams searching for the missing man found about 10:30 a.m. Saturday along the Brown Mountain Truck Trail, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Kim Shelton said.
The body was discovered a short distance from the man’s bicycle, and showed signs of trauma consistent with taking a fall from his bike, she said. No crime was initially suspected.
Sheriff’s officials received notification from Torrance police about 9 p.m. Friday that the cell phone of a missing Torrance man had been traces to a popular hiking trailhead north of Altadena, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The missing man’s SUV was found in the parking lot of the Millard Canyon Campground, Shelton said.
Officials from the Altadena, Montrose, Sierra Madre, San Dimas, Santa Clarita and Malibu search-and-rescue teams joined in the search, along with Sheriff’s Department helicopters, according to the statement. Additional resources from the California Air National Guard were requested, however the search concluded before they joined the search.
Investigators determined the missing man had started out for a mountain bike ride Friday morning.
Although the missing person was an experienced mountain biker, he was reported to have limited supplies with him, a storm was predicted to come in and there is over 30 miles of trail to search,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
Searchers handed out fliers with pictures of the missing man and his bicycle, Shelton said.
A hiker told authorities about 10 a.m. that he had seen the bicycle pictured on the flier in a remote area about three miles up the trail, officials said.
Officials quickly located the bike.
“After further searching, a body of a male was discovered,” according to the statement. “Sheriff’s Air Rescue 5 lowered a paramedic and the person was pronounced deceased at approximately 10:30 a.m.”
The investigation is ongoing.

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Glendora Ridge Road to be closed through Monday


ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Officials plan to shut- down a portion of Glendora Ridge Road in the Angeles Nation Forest north of the San Gabriel Valley between Christmas Eve and Monday due to snow and icy conditions, authorities said.
The closure will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday on Glendora Ridge Road, between Glendora Mountain Road and Mt. Baldy Road, County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works officials said in a written statement.
“Depending on whether conditions, the road is expected to reopen on Monday,” according to the statement. “Public Works will monitor conditions and respond as conditions warrant.”
Drivers who find themselves navigating through snowy or icy conditions are urged to exercise “extreme caution,” especially in mountain areas, officials said.
A full list of weather-related road closures in Los Angeles County is available online at www.dpw.lacounty.gov/roadclosures.

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UPDATED: Whittier man found dead in Angeles National Forest identified

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Harry “Sam” Bash was an explorer, constantly seeking a new thrill or personal discovery.
It was that passion that led the longtime Whittier man to serve his country carrying out underwater demolitions with the U.S. Navy, to scale mountains and to fly airplanes.
Unfortunately, it was the same passion that put him in the Angeles National Forest, prospecting for gold, when he was caught in a mudslide in September. He was killed in the incident. He was 67.
Bash’s body was discovered by a hiker about 5 p.m. Sept. 19 along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, between the Bridge to Nowhere and Heaton Flats, Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said. He was not officially identified by coroner’s officials until this week.
An autopsy determined he died from “multiple blunt force injuries,” and the death was ruled accidental, Winter said.
Coroner’s records listed no hometown for Bash.
Friends described him as a retired longtime Whittier resident who grew up in Pico Rivera and U.S. Navy veteran who enjoyed exploring the outdoors.
Property records indicate Bash owned a home in Whittier for more than 20 years, but friends said he had lived there more than three decades.
Dan Klausen said he first met Bash when the two attended school together in the first grade. They’ve remained friends ever since.
“He was truly my closest friend,” Klausen said.
“He was just a fun guy. He had a great sense of humor. He would call me up and call me ‘plutonium breath,’” Klausen said.
The friends took many trips together, scaling Half Dome in Yosemite, visiting Mt. Whitney and going on bike trips lasting days and hundreds of miles, Klausen said.
And Klausen said Bash’s curiosity knew no bounds.
Upon looking through Bash’s home following his death, “The books this guy had: quantum physics, geometry, calculus,” Klausen said. “He was so fascinated with science and mathematics and how things work.”
AR-150919318Bash often went prospecting in the mountains, generally taking day trips, but sometimes camping overnight, friends said.
Klausen said he speculated his friend must have touched on a good spot for gold, as he was believed to have been camped in the forest for about a week before becoming swept up in a debris flow.
“Otherwise, he never would have been up there that long,” he said. And witnesses reported that Bash’s car had moved in the parking lot at the mountain entrance at least once during the his camping trip, indicating had returned to it and possible resupplied.
Bash was found with his backpack, indicating he was trying to work his way out of the forest when he died, Klausen added.
Friend Jenny Reisner said she believed Bash may have been caught off-guard.
“He was hard of hearing, so likely didn’t hear it coming,” she said.
Bob Garcia said he was a friend of Bash for more than 50 years.
“Sam was a true outdoors man who loved and lived life to the fullest. He touched the lives of many people and he will be missed by all,” Garcia said.
Garcia said his friend spent four years with the Navy as an underwater demolitions expert, followed by a 29-year career at a chemical company.
Bash was a licensed pilot, a scuba diver an underwater welder, a mountain biker, a hiker, a rock climber, an explorer and a prospector, Garcia said.
Bash’s eulogy,delivered at an Oct. 10 memorial in Whittier, described him as “the quintessential explorer,” an accomplished guitarist and a lover of geography, botany and astronomy who spoke Spanish fluently.
Bash was never married and had no children, friends said.
He’s survived by twin sister, Sally, and sister Barb, three nieces, three nephews, six great-nephews and four great-nieces.
“His zest for life, insatiable love of learning, and thirst for adventure impacted and inspired practically everyone around him,” according to the eulogy. “Sam’s kind qualities, gentle demeanor, boundless curiosity, and beautiful spirit earned him immense love and respect. He will be sadly missed but remembered for the rest of our lives by all those who knew him.”

PHOTOS: [TOP] – Harry Samuel Bash, 67, of Whittier (courtesy, Connie Petty); [BELOW] – Sheriff’s recovery effort (courtesy, LASD)

 

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UPDATED: Hiker dies in 180-foot fall from cliff in Angeles National Forest north of Sierra Madre


ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> A 23-year-old hiker died Sunday after falling from a 180-foot cliff in the Chantry Flats area of the Angeles National Forest, officials said.
Passers-by first called authorities about 2 p.m. to report finding the body, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The man had been hiking near Sturtevant Falls when he fell from the cliff, according to Sgt. Steve Ruiz.
Another hiker witnessed the fall and was working his way down the mountain to get help when the other group of hikers came upon the victim while hiking on a trail below, Lt. Ron Daily said.
Paramedics and members of the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team responded and pronounced the man dead at the scene, Ruiz said.
The investigation remained in its early stages Sunday night.
Coroner’s officials and sheriff’s homicide detectives planned to pause their investigation in the remote forest area overnight and resume Monday morning.

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Family of four hurt when car veers off road in Angeles National Forest

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Rescuers pulled a family of four from the wreckage of a car that went over the side of Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest Sunday, including a 12-year-old girl who was resuscitated after being found pulseless, authorities said.
The crash occurred about 2:30 p.m. near mile marker 53 of Angeles Crest Highway, just north of Santa Clara Divide Road, deep in the forest above Altadena, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
0928_NWS_PSN-L-ACHCRASH2CHP officers, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, county firefighters, U.S. Forest Service officials and members of the Montrose Search and Rescue Team responded to the crash. Rescuers used a helicopter to take the four patients to a trauma center.
The 12-year-old girl, who appeared to have suffered the worst of the injuries, was resuscitated after initially being found without a pulse, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Hofemeister said. She was rushed into surgery Friday afternoon.
The conditions of the three other occupants of the vehicle, described as a man, a woman and another child, were not available.
Officers from the Altadena area office of the CHP are handling the investigation.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Hiker discovers body along trail in Angeles National Forest

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> A hiker discovered a body along a hiking trail in the Angeles National Forest north of Glendora Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
The discovery was made about 5 p.m. in the riverbed of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, near a hiking trail between Heaton Flats and the Bridge to Nowhere, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Raymond Roth said.
The body was found beneath mud and other debris, indicating the person may have been the victim of a mudslide, the sergeant said.
No description of the person was available, and there was no initial information regarding how long the body may have been there.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau joined county coroner’s officials at the scene Sunday as they worked to recover the body and investigate the scene.
As part of the investigation, detectives were looking into any missing persons reports that may be related to the death, Roth said.

PHOTO courtesy of the LASD.

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UPDATED: Teen hurt, injured man goes missing after Angeles Crest Highway crash


ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Two people were hurt, and one of them went missing for hours, after their car plummeted over the side of Angeles Crest Highway deep in the Angeles National Forest early Sunday, officials said.
A passer-by discovered the crash scene about a mile north of Mt. Wilson Red Box Road shortly before 10 a.m. after hearing a woman screaming for help, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Bill Jaeger said.
Members of the Montrose Search and Rescue Team joined Los Angeles County firefighters to hoist the injured passenger, a teenage girl, to safety, Jaeger said.
She was flown to an area hospital by helicopter for treatment of injuries not believed to be life threatening, Sgt. Booker Hollis said.
But the driver of the car, a man of about 20 years old, was nowhere to be found as of noon, officials said.
“They found a blood trail, which indicates he’s injured and was trying to make his way out of the area,” Jaeger said.
Authorities called off the mountain search Sunday afternoon, Hollis said. The man remained missing.
Shortly before 4 p.m., however, a CBS television news crew that went up the mountain to cover the story heard a man yelling for help, Lt. Chad Sauter said. They notified authorities, who re-dispatced rescuers to the scene.
Officials found the man suffering from a broken leg and other injuries not believed to be life-threatening in the same area they had been searching with the aid of two helicopters and two search dogs, Sauter said.
It was unclear why the man didn’t call out to rescuers, or could not be heard, earlier in the day.
The crash was initially believed to have taken place several hours before the wreckage was discovered.

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Woman rescued from Chantry Flats after suffering head injury in fall

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Rescuers flew a 70-year-old woman to a hospital with head injuries Wednesday after she took a fall while hiking in the Chantry Flats Picnic Site, officials said.
The injured hiker was ultimately listed in stable condition at a hospital following the 2:11 p.m. mishap, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Julie Geary said.
The woman tripped and fell, suffering a laceration to her head, the sergeant said.
A sheriff’s department helicopter hoisted the woman from the campground and rushed to her a hospital for treatment, Geary said.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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UPDATED: Motorcyclist killed in Angeles Crest Highway crash


ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> A 27-year-old Fontana man died early Sunday after his motorcycle collided head-on with an SUV on Angeles Crest Highway, deep in the Angeles National Forest above Altadena.
The crash was first reported about 8:25 a.m. at mile marker 36.89 of Angeles Crest Highway, north of Ladybug Canyon Road, California Highway Patrol officials said. His name was not released pending family notification.
The rider was heading east on Angeles Crest Highway on a 2013 Yamaha R6 at an unknown speed just prior to the collision, CHP Sgt. Todd Kovaletz said in a written statement. A 2001 GMC Yukon was heading in the opposite direction.
“For an unknown reason, (the rider) drove across the painted double yellow lines into the opposing lane, directly into the path of the GMC,” the sergeant said. “(He) collided with the roadway, then with the GMC.”
Paramedics pronounced the motorcyclist dead at the scene.
The driver of the SUV, a 40-year-old Hanford man, as well as a woman and three children riding as passengers were not injured, Kovaletz said.
The crash is being investigated by the CHP’s Altadena office. Anyone with information was asked to contact Officer J. Ortega at 626-296-8100.

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Head-on crash between motorcycle, fire truck on Glendora Ridge Road caught on helmet cam


ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> A helmet camera video showing a motorcyclist colliding head-on with a fire truck on a mountain road north of Glendora two months ago has gone viral since being uploaded online nearly three weeks ago.
The video of the April 1 crash on Glendora Ridge Road has been viewed nearly 175,00 times on YouTube as of Wednesday afternoon.
In the video’s description, the rider, Jesse Lopez, said he had no memory of the crash.

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