October 8, 2012

Yosemite worker from Ceres rescued with broken pelvis, leg

Search teams Tuesday afternoon found a Yosemite National Park employee from Ceres who went missing over the weekend. Park officials confirmed Jessica Rose Garcia was hurt but conscious when she was rescued.

Search teams on Tuesday afternoon found a Yosemite National Park employee from Ceres who went missing over the weekend.

Yosemite officials confirmed that Jessica Rose Garcia, 23, was found about 1 p.m. less than two miles up the South Fork Drainage of the Merced River in a rugged area in the southern portion of the park. She was hurt, but conscious.

"Overall, she seems to be doing well," park spokesman Scott Gediman said. "She was able to be short-hauled. This is very, very good."

"Short-haul" is what rangers call it when a helicopter lowers a harness on a steel cable, then picks up an individual and carries him or her — with an accompanying ranger — to a nearby meadow. The decision to short-haul Garcia was made because of the steep, rough terrain where she was found.

According to a Facebook page started by Garcia's family, she was being taken to an undisclosed hospital for medical evaluation and treatment. A post Tuesday afternoon said she suffered a fractured pelvis and fractured femur, but was alert and stable.

Garcia last had been seen at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, walking east along Forest Drive after leaving orientation at the Wawona Hotel. She was dressed in her work uniform, a dark-green polo shirt and dark-green jacket, black slacks and black loafers. She was found about two miles from where she last was seen and apparently had been hiking off-trail.

Garcia hikes regularly. "According to her friends, that's usually what she does on her weekends," said Yosemite spokeswoman Kari Cobb. "She's comfortable with the outdoors."

Garcia worked in Yosemite Valley through the summer and then moved to Wawona recently to start work at the hotel there.

Cobb described the area as "very forested," with steep terrain and some dropoffs. She said temperatures in the area have been in the mid-70s during the day, dropping to the low 40s at night.

Gediman said it was not clear how and when Garcia got hurt.

Search-and-rescue teams included six dog teams, the park helicopter, rangers on horseback and 23 rangers on foot, Cobb said.

Bee breaking news editor Patty Guerra can be reached at pguerra@modbee.com or (209) 578-2343.

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