San Diego

Father, Son Stranded Overnight on Borrego Springs Hiking Trail: SDSO

A father and son were rescued Monday by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department after the pair was stranded in a Borrego Springs canyon Sunday night, according to officials.

Ben Cassell and his 13-year old son became lost in Borrego Palm Canyon and were unable to find their way out, according to deputies.

"It was just too dangerous to try and make any more ground that night, and by that time we were out of water and we were out of food," Ben told NBC 7. "But that situation's not gonna get better by breaking your leg."

The pair went off trail, climbing up a nearby ridge. Ben said he thought it would be easy to "take another ridge down."

"No. There most certainly was not. It was just giant slab of rock after giant slab of rock," he later said.

Fortunately, there was cell service, and Ben was able to call his wife, who then called the sheriff's department.

The father-son duo had a lighter and were able to start a small fire.

Deputies were able to spot the them by their campfire after receiving the distress call shortly after 7 p.m.

Both an SDSO helicopter and a San Diego Fire-Rescue Department chopper were unable to reach the hikers Sunday night to hoist them out of the canyon.

"All of the emergency responders did a great job, but no one could get to us 'cause it was too dangerous to get to our location," Ben said. "We had to stay there overnight."

The two laid out Juniper leaves over large rocks to create a makeshift bed.

On Monday, deputies were able to reach the pair and lead them out of the canyon to their campsite at around 4:30 a.m.

Ben admitted he was a bit embarrassed about the incident. He told NBC 7 he runs a resort in Death Valley National Park and is an experienced hiker who should have known better. None the less, the incident served as a great lesson on being prepared, he said.

"I was overconfident. Usually I can get myself out of binds I get myself into, but it was really nice to see those guys up on the ridge with the water and snacks," he told NBC 7. "It was, just, yes, awesome."

The 44-year-old father and 13-year-old son declined any medical attention, officials said.

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