Lost South Mountain hikers say cellphones saved them


by Natalie Brand


Posted on January 24, 2014 at 10:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 28 at 2:26 PM

PHOENIX -- Two lost hikers found on South Mountain Friday night say their cellphones were instrumental in their rescue.

Karen Escutia and Jonathan Hernandez told 3TV they accidentally wandered off the trail after the sun went down and became lost. Escutia said she slipped.

They said they started their hike around 6 p.m. and did not realize how quickly it would become cold and dark.

"I'm still shaking because we stayed in the same position for like half an hour until (firefighters) found us," Hernandez said.

Several Phoenix firefighters escorted the two hikers to safety, guiding them down the mountain with flashlights.

Escutia and Hernandez were prepared with fully charged cellphones and able to call for help.

Hernandez said he and Escutia were embarrassed to call 911 at first, but now they say it's the reason they got off the mountain safely.

“We tried to guess which way we came from and that didn’t work, so we just called 911 after we heard coyotes,” Hernandez explained.

South Mountain trails are open until 11 p.m., but hiking in the dark is not recommended.