Hiker dead, 4 injured after falling down ice chute in Angeles National Forest

(KTLA) -- One person died and at least four more were seriously injured Saturday after five hikers fell down an icy slope Friday while hiking near Angeles Crest Highway outside Wrightwood, authorities said.

A group of 10 hikers in their 50s and 60s were traversing a path called the Little Jimmy Trail at an elevation of about 7,000 feet when cold, snowy conditions caused half the party to fall down a 70-degree slope, according to Michael Granek, a helicopter pilot with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Hiker dead, 4 injured after falling down ice chute
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Hiker dead, 4 injured after falling down ice chute
Photo: KTLA
Photo: KTLA
Photo: KTLA

Around 11:30 a.m., about an hour into the hike, a woman slipped and fell down the hill, Granek said. When a male member of the party reached out to grab her, the icy, steep terrain pulled him down as well, propelling both down 300 to 400 feet.

While the woman survived, but the man suffered fatal injuries after striking an object during the fall, Granek said.

"A lot of times — unfortunately like today — it was a tree or a rock that can often prove fatal," he added.

The deceased man was a Korean-American who lived in Gardena, LASD rescue officials said.

Shortly after the initial incident, another man and woman slipped off the ledge of the trail, and then a fifth person fell as well, according to Granek. Although the party did not have cell service, a Ventura County Search and Rescue team happened to be training a short distance away and became aware of the situation, which they referred to LASD.

One patient was transported by ground while another two were airlifted by two separate helicopters, Los Angeles County fire officials confirmed. It was unclear how the fourth patient was rescued.

One person airlifted had broken a wrist and had hypothermia, while the other suffered injuries to the head and back as well as hypothermia, firefighters said.

"They suffered the injuries you would expect from an incident like that — broken bones, abrasions, lacerations," Antelope Valley Hospital representative Carol Stevenson said. "They are being cared for with their families at their side and resting now."

KTLA's Shaquille Woods contributed to this report.

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