Sheriff’s Aerial Support To Regional Enforcement Agencies (ASTREA) rescued a 23-year-old Ramona man from a cliff in the El Capitan Open Space Preserve in Lakeside Saturday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Department reported.
While hiking alone along the Trans-County Trail in the preserve east of Wildcat Canyon Road and Blue Sky Ranch Road, Matthew Nau ventured off the trail to explore. He became disoriented and could not find his way back to the trail, according to the sheriff’s report. Nau called 911 on his cell phone at 4:43 p.m., and patrol deputies from the sheriff’s Santee Station and an ASTREA helicopter responded.
The ASTREA crew reported locating Nau standing near the top of a near-vertical rock face several hundred feet above the San Diego River. After several attempts, the helicopter crew landed on a tabletop rock near Nau. The sheriff’s report states that the crew had to contend with several hazards, including strong gusty winds, paragliders in the air and an unattended kite flying nearby.
The helicopter flew Nau to a helipad at Barona Casino, where he was evaluated by paramedics and determined to be suffering from mild dehydration and a minor ankle injury.