PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Four mountain bikers missing overnight in the rugged and chilly San Gabriel Mountains were found safe and unharmed Monday.
The men, all cousins ages 28 to 38, were spotted by Los Angeles County sheriff's searchers around 8:30 a.m. in a canyon in the Angeles National Forest and were reunited with relatives.
"We just took a wrong turn and we were basically completely lost in the middle of nowhere," biker Christopher McCarthy told KABC-TV after an emotional reunion with family members who had waited through the night.
The men began their ride from Mount Wilson, a peak topping 5,700 feet northeast of Los Angeles, down to Pasadena at about 10 a.m. Sunday. But they failed to return by the planned time of 3 p.m., less than two hours before sunset.
Family members located the bikers' vehicles at a turnout parking area near NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Sheriff's search-and-rescue team members were summoned at 9 p.m. and unsuccessfully looked for the group until 4 a.m. The search resumed with aircraft after sunrise.
The men were on a trail that is 10 miles long and crosses other trails, making a wrong turn understandable, Deputy Dan Paige told KABC.
"We've never mountain-biked this trail before so we were very unfamiliar with it," McCarthy said.
The group decided to light a fire when they reached a campground in Bear Canyon, where McCarthy said he initially wanted to leave the bikes behind and try to make their way out to avoid spending the night.
"But the right decision was to set the fire and we gathered as much wood as possible," he said.
Overnight temperatures fell to the low 40s on Mount Wilson, according to the National Weather Service.