Two hydrographers and a pilot who were forced to camp out overnight in the High Sierra after their helicopter sustained an engine failure Thursday are safely back home.
The hydrographers, Brandon Huns and Steve Rozier, work for Sierra Hydrographics in Auberry. They were sent to the area of Mount Tyndall in the Mount Whitney region Thursday to repair a “snow pillow,” a device which measures snowpack water content.
Dotty Garrigue, owner of the firm, said when the pilot, whose name was not available, was preparing to take off after the repair, the Bell B3 engine signaled a malfunction.. Other helicopter crews, including the California Highway Patrol, were not able to fly in Thursday, so the three broke out survival gear and camped in temperatures that dipped to 1 degree. They were airlifted out Friday morning by Guardian Helicopters of Van Nuys.
The helicopter remained behind. Garrigue said it will need a new engine before it can be flown to its base in Paso Robles.