81-year-old hiker pronounced dead is identified

IDYLLWILD – An 81-year-old Orinda man was identified today as the hiker who was found unresponsive on the San Jacinto Peak Trail and pronounced dead at a fire station in Idyllwild.

Ulrich Luscher, 81, of Orinda was identified by the coroner as the hiker found unresponsive in the wilderness area above the Palm Springs Tram, according to the Riverside County coroner’s office.

The Riverside County Fire Department was contacted about Luscher at 2:29 p.m. Sunday and emergency personnel hiked into the wilderness area to find him, said fire spokeswoman Jody Hagemann.

The coroner estimated his time of death at about 4:30 p.m., when his body was taken to the Keenwild Fire Station on State Highway 243 in Idyllwild.

There were no signs of foul play, the coroner’s office said.

Riverside County Fire Department searches for elderly hiker

Members of the Riverside County Fire Department are currently in the process of trying to find an elderly hiker who went down in an area of the San Jacinto wilderness near the Palm Springs tramway, a Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman said today.

Riverside County Fire Department Spokeswoman Jody Hagemann said five units and 25 firefighters were responding to the area where the man was believed to be, which is one half mile from Wellman’s Divide.

A CAL FIRE helicopter is also scouring the area to find the man, according to Hagemann.

No other details were available at this time regarding the man or his identity.

Wellman’s Divide is a popular destination for area hikers. It’s 9,700 feet above sea level and is not far from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

The divide provides a view of San Jacinto’s wilderness as well as the dome of Palomar Observatory.

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