Hiker dies, another hurt in mountains near Idyllwild

UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 7, 6:40 a.m.

A hiker who died while on the mountainous terrain east of Idyllwild has been identified as Jonathan Zuniga, 24, of Oceanside.

Zuniga suffered fatal injuries died on the rock face of Lily Rock, the Riverside County Coroner’s office, is reporting this morning.

According to a press release issued by the Riverside County Sheriff’s  Department, the preliminary investigation into the incident determined that Zuniga and an unidentified hiking companion fell while rock climbing.

Zuniga perished on the scene and the injured hiker was transported to a hospital for medical treatment.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department would like to remind hikers that weather, awareness of your surroundings, proper equipment and supplies, and use of good judgment are essential for safe hiking.  Hikers are also encouraged to venture out with a partner and stay on designated trails.

Anyone with information regarding this incident should call the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Hemet Station, at (951) 791-3400.


IDYLLWILD  – A hiker was fatally injured Wednesday, Sept. 7,  and his friend was seriously hurt while negotiating mountainous terrain east of Idyllwild.

The hikers were reported down about 2 p.m. in the area of Tahquitz Rock, within the San Bernardino National Forest, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

An agency spokeswoman said more than 30 firefighters were sent to rescue the pair and hiked through Humber Park before locating them.

By the time paramedics reached the victims, one had died, according to the fire department. The nature of the hiker’s injuries and how they were sustained were not disclosed.

A Cal Fire helicopter crew hoisted the surviving victim out of the area and airlifted him to a hospital for treatment of major injuries.

Neither victim was identified.

U.S. Forest Service rangers and Riverside County sheriff’s deputies also took part in the rescue operation, which concluded shortly before 4 p.m.

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