Hiker Rescued by Helicopter After Falling From Tangerine Falls

Local emergency responders rescued an injured hiker from Tangerine Falls using a helicopter on February 10, 2024 (Photo: Montecito Fire Department)

An injured hiker required a helicopter rescue on Saturday after falling from Tangerine Falls.

Montecito and Santa Barbara County Firefighters along with Search & Rescue and County Air Support responded to the area around 3:00 p.m.

They discovered a 28-year-old male had fallen about 30 feet from the falls and sustained a hip injury.

Crews from both fire departments hiked into the falls while County Air Support Helicopter 3 hoisted in a firefighter/paramedic and ultimately brought up both the firefighter and the hiker to be transported by helicopter to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for further evaluation and treatment.

First responders on the scene of a hiker rescue at Tangerine Falls on February 10, 2024 (Photo: Montecito Fire Department)

The Montecito Fire Department reminds hikers and residents that wet rocks are slippery and there are added hazards of increased water flow. The higher flow in the creek and stream channels create extreme fall risk on the wet surfaces, the department said.

“Patients back at Tangerine Falls often end up getting hoisted out to treat their traumatic injuries. Back country rescues create a significant injury risk for responders as they hike in with hundreds of pounds of equipment, then have to bring out a patient strapped into a stokes basket, rolling and carrying it all over numerous large rocks, boulders, creek crossings, and infinite other hazards. It takes approximately 15 personnel to effect a rescue on our trails, depending on the location,” Montecito Fire stated in a social media post.

Hikers are reminded to stay safe, be smart, and also keep responders’ safety and well-being in mind when hiking in local backcountry.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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    • Generally no. SAR, is usually a volunteer effort or one run in part with a local Fire or Police team. And Fire dept is public so they don’t charge you. But it can depend. I know in other states you can be charged. Or if you are doing something illegal and need a rescue you can be charged. For example, in Utah (Zion) if you are descending a canyon without the proper permits and need a rescue you will get charged. But it’s not very much. I think it’s under $1000. In Europe you can buy extra insurance to cover mountain rescues. It’s $45 for Switzerland for example.

      As a side note, There used to be a nice trail to and past Tangerine Falls that was washed out after the Thomas fire. Those trails have never been fulllyu restored so a decent amount of scrampling on the slippery rocks up the streambed is how everyone approaches. Trail restoration would increase public safety.

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