Hiker Rescued on Ortega Mountainside

The hiker, later identified as John Kopeczy 38, of Hemet, was advised to stay at his location and wait for rescue personnel.

A 38-year-old Hemet man who became stranded on a mountainside off the Ortega Highway was rescued by a helicopter crew and sheriff's rescue personnel early Sunday, officials said.

The hiker, later identified as John Kopeczy 38, of Hemet, had been flashing a light on the mountainside about 9:50 p.m. Saturday but sheriff's deputies could not initially locate its origin, Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Chad Loeffler wrote in a news release.

A helicopter crew was sent up to find the source of the light and spotted the hiker, stranded on a ledge, east of the highway, Loeffler said.

The hiker was told to wait there for the mountain rescue crew, which got him off the mountain and into the helicoper about 4 a.m., Loeffler said.

Kopeczy was unhurt, the sergeant said.


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