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Navy helicopter crashes while searching for a hiker lost in California mountains

An MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter assigned to the “Longhorns” of Helicopter Search and Rescue (SAR) Squadron (U.S. Navy photo by Shannon Renfroe)

A U.S. Navy helicopter crashed Friday while searching for a lost hiker in the White Mountains in California, stranding the crew overnight.

The MH-60 Knighthawk helicopter crashed about 5 p.m. near Mount Hogue on the California-Nevada border east of Yosemite National Park, the Navy said.

The helicopter, based in Fallon, Nevada, crashed at 11,700 feet above sea level in rugged terrain, stranding the four-person crew, Navy officials said.

A second helicopter also based at Fallon tried to rescue the crew Friday night but could only drop supplies for an overnight stay on the mountain.

Another attempt Saturday was thwarted by the high altitude, the Navy said. A CH-47 Chinook from Sacramento Mather Airport dropped a search-and-rescue team on the mountain, then returned after refueling to pick up the stranded crew.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, the Navy said.

The lost hiker, Ronald Bolen of Norman, Oklahoma, had gone missing Wednesday on a trip to climb Boundary Peak in Nevada, KOCO reported. He sent his family a photo from the summit Tuesday but had not been heard from since.

“At this point, his phone is dead and we have not had contact with him in three and a half days,” daughter Meredith Bolen told the station Friday.

Bolen, a University of Oklahoma professor, was later found safe, KOKH reported. He had gotten lost and spent four days awaiting rescue by a creek.


(c) 2021 The Sacramento Bee

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