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Brothers rescued by chopper in forest above La Cañada Thursday morning

August 16, 2012

A La Cañada Flintridge man and his brother ran into trouble in the Angeles National Forest on Wednesday night and  were airlifted out by Montrose Search and Rescue on Thursday morning.

Andre and Rene Laurencot were attempting to hike from the Switzer Picnic Area to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the Gabrielino Trail on Wednesday when they failed to see a trail closure sign and got stuck, according to Mike Leum, assistant director of the Montrose team that responded.

“One had hiked [the trail] a long time ago, maybe 20 years ago, but after the fires, floods and windstorms, that trail is almost impassable,” he said. “With all the downed trees, the different terrain, it is a nightmare.”

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Leum said that Rene Laurencot, 48, attempted to climb out of the arroyo up the Angeles Crest Highway, but got stuck, leading to a cliffside helicopter rescue. His brother Andre Laurencot, 54 and a La Cañada resident, was found about a mile up the trail, where he was also airlifted out.

“He was too exhausted to continue, and he was kind of banged and bruised, so I requested a helicopter extraction for the two of us,” said Leum.

Neither hiker reported any injuries, according to Sgt. Debra Herman of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station. Herman said that the brothers were supposed to attend a family dinner at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, and were reported missing at 10 p.m.

Leum said that the rescue team was dispatched at around 11 p.m., but didn’t find Rene Launrencot until 6:40 a.m. They spotted his brother about a half hour later.

Leum said that one of the reasons the rescue team took such a long time to find and extract the brothers was that they didn’t know where to look.

“Nobody had any good communication because they didn’t tell anyone what their plan was, where they were going, and once they got in the field they separated,” he said.

The hikers were flown to a nearby landing zone and then driven to their cars.

--Daniel Seigal, Times Community News

Twitter: @ValleySunDan

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