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Man is airlifted to hospital from Switzer Falls

November 28, 2011

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials airlifted a 62-year-old man out of Switzer Falls on Saturday afternoon after he reportedly lost consciousness.

Mike Leum of the Montrose Search and Rescue Team said two members of his unit were near the area about 10 miles above La Cañada Flintridge when they were alerted of a possible unconscious person on the trail.

When rescuers arrived, the man was lightheaded and nauseated, and about a mile and a half from the Switzer Falls parking area, Leum said.

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After a paramedic evaluated him, an L.A. County sheriff's helicopter airlifted the man to Huntington Memorial Hospital.

Late Saturday night, Leum said three members of Montrose Search and Rescue’s underground unit also left for Placer County in Northern California to recover the body of a miner who died 1,200 feet down a mine shaft.

“As we speak, the team is on site at the mine, and they will be attempting to enter the mine and figure out how to perform the body recovery due to bad air and a series of tunnels,” Leum said Sunday morning.

About twice a year, members of Montrose Search and Rescue fly to counties outside Los Angeles.

In Placer County, the local fire department determined the miner was dead, but could not remove him from the shaft.

“We have special re-breathing devices that allow our people to stay underground hours at a time so they can continue to work,” Leum said.

Two members of the Sierra Madre rescue unit and one from Malibu are also working with the Montrose team.

-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News

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