TEMECULA – A woman was seriously injured while hiking in an area known as “Bum River” or “Bum Creek” Saturday, March 18. The area – which is in the hills just west of Temecula Parkway and Old Town Front Street – is part of the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve. The victim was airlifted from the hills before being transported to an area hospital, according to a fire official.
Eighteen firefighters from two engine companies and one truck company responded to the incident just after noon, according to Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire spokeswoman Jody Hagemann.
When firefighters and other emergency first responders arrived at the location of the incident, they determined the woman would need to be airlifted from the location.
Officials did not specify how the hiker was injured or the nature of her injures, which were described as major.
Nearly four hours after the emergency was reported, Hagemann updated that Cal Fire’s helicopter 301 had successfully performed a short-haul rescue to remove the victim from the hills.
There have been no updates regarding the woman’s condition.
Saturday’s victim was not the first person to be seriously injured or killed at the popular hiking area, which is off-limits to hikers and others without permission to be there.
In January 2013, Nicholas Lovato, 23, of Menifee, died at the watering hole when a rocky outcropping he was sitting on collapsed beneath him. He fell more than 30 feet into a canyon and was then struck by a falling boulder.
Another recent tragic incident at the creek happened in June 2016, when a 16-year-old boy jumped 40 feet into the water below.
Although the victim landed in the water, he smashed into rocks he had not seen under the water.
The young victim broke his tailbone in four places, shattered his number one and two lumbar vertebrae and broke one of his heels in three places.
Although there are no trespassing signs dotted throughout the area, many have been damaged by graffiti and gunfire, while others have been knocked down or completely destroyed by vandals.