Volunteer Rescue Worker To Sue Hiker He Helped Save From Orange County Mountains?

After two teenagers went missing Easter Sunday in Orange County, Calif., rescue crews and volunteer rescue workers searched relentlessly for the pair in the rough terrain. Along the way, one rescue volunteer fell and broke his back.

Nick Papageorge, 20, was working to find the two missing teens, 19-year-old Nic Cendoya and 18-year-old Kyndall Jack, in the mountains of Rancho Santa Margarita when he slipped and fell 110 feet.

Methamphetamine was found in Cendoya’s car during the rescue efforts, and if Cendoya is found guilty of drug charges, Papageorge claims he will be seeking compensation for his $350,000 medical bill.

After Cendoya's arraignment was postponed Wednesday, Papageorge held up X-rays of his back for the press, explaining that he now has two titanium rods and 11 screws in his back in order to repair the damage caused during his efforts to save Cendoya.

Cendoya and Jack had been hiking in the mountains on Easter Sunday, and after realizing they were lost, called 911 sounding disoriented. Their cell phone battery died before the 911 dispatcher could track the location of the signal, leaving the two stranded.

Cendoya was found by rescue workers three days after the 911 call and Jack was found a day after that. Both were extremely dehydrated and delirious, explaining they had hallucinations of animal attacks and couldn’t remember much after the 911 call.

“I don't remember drinking anything,” said Jack to ABC News.

The search, overall, cost Orange County around $160,000, but county officials claim they cannot pursue reimbursement from the pair, even though they may have been under the influence of illegal substances.

On Tuesday, however, county supervisors moved to change the loophole, which would hold people accountable for the costs of rescue if they are found to have engaged in reckless or illegal behavior.

Sources: Daily Mail, NBC


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